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Palestine calls for Quartet ministerial meeting to take place in Moscow - ambassador

Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal believes that such a meeting would be a boost for an international conference on the Middle East

MOSCOW, May 8. /TASS/. Palestine calls for a ministerial meeting of Middle East Quartet (Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union) to be held in Moscow at the soonest possible date, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal told TASS on Saturday.

"We highly appreciate Russia’s role in the Quartet on the Middle East. For the first time in a long time, the Americans agreed to hold a Quartet meeting in an online format. We hope that it will soon be possible to convene a ministerial meeting of the Quartet in Moscow or any other venue. We would like it to take place in Moscow," he said.

The diplomat believes that such a meeting would be a boost for an international conference on the Middle East settlement.

The ambassador pointed out that Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov focused on the Middle East settlement and the Palestinian elections in their talks.

"We were discussing all the issues for more than two hours. Among them were the elections and why they had been cancelled. [It happened] because of Israel’s actions. Although Europeans promised to have an influence on Israelis, they were unable to. However, we cannot hold an election without East Jerusalem. Should we do this, we will thus recognize Trump’s plan (‘the Deal of the Century’) and will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Nofal noted.

According to the ambassador, al-Maliki clarified this position at the meeting, stating that once Russia is able to exert its influence on Israel in this issue, Palestine will be able to hold elections. Nevertheless, there is no such possibility as yet, the diplomat added, underscoring that all the Palestinian parties agree that the elections should take place in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

"Russia has understood our position, and we appreciate it. In addition, Moscow says it stays ready to invite the Israeli side to Moscow for negotiations," al-Maliki added.

On January 26, in his address to the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, Lavrov proposed holding a ministerial meeting this spring or summer, with the participation of the Quartet of International Mediators, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia as the author of the Arab Peace Initiative.