MOSCOW, June 8 /TASS/. Palestine hopes for Moscow’s "direct and active involvement" in resolving the conflict with Israel, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Wednesday.
"Perhaps, the conference in France (held on June 3 - TASS) will promote a peace accord (between Palestine and Israel), but that does not mean that other opportunties are closed," he said. "For that reason, I am here in Moscow to discuss Moscow’s capabilities regarding the direct active involvement in the settlement process."
The Palestinian Authority requested consultations with Moscow after the conference, al-Maliki said.
"Considering the results of the latest session in Paris, we felt that it was necessary for us to come to Moscow to exchange opinions and see whether there were prospects for progress [in the Mideast settlement]," the Palestinian foreign minister said.
"We’re convinced that Russia can play a very important role in bringing the parties to the negotiating table," he said.
The minister noted that the recent talks in Paris held without the participation of the parties to the conflict helped ensure agreement on the beginning of the talks.
"The international support group was to develop the general principles of how to achieve peace between Palestine and Israel," he said.
"We intend to discuss the assessment of this conference with the Russian side," he added. "We want to assess further cooperation opportunties and understand Russia’s arguments regarding further rapprochement between Palestine and Israel. Taking into account the fact that (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is here, we want to know what the Russian side thinks about this and how the Russian side can facilitate this process."
According to the minister, "the next conference will be held in September."
"We offer Israelis the final opportunity to sit down at the negotiating table and reach a peace agreement with the recognition of the occupied territory belonging to Palestine," he said.
The international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian settlement was held on June 3 in Paris. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said after the meeting that another conference would take place before the end of this year.
Russia's growing international role
Russia’s growing international role is explained, among other things, by its active participation in the solution of the Middle East problem, al-Maliki said.
"I would like to thank you on behalf of the Palestinian delegation. We are very happy to be here today to meet the Russian foreign minister," al-Maliki said.
According to him, the Palestinian leadership is trying to preserve the current dynamics of relations and interaction with Moscow for further development of relations.
"The Palestinian president [Mahmoud Abbas] visited Russia about 6 weeks ago for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They discussed the Palestinian problem and the French initiative to organize an International Middle East Settlement Conference [took place in Paris on June 3 - TASS]," the Palestinian foreign minister said.
"Naturally, Russia’s [global] role, which has recently increased, was discussed," al-Maliki said adding that Russia had passed several decisions in the context of the Middle East settlement.
The Palestinian foreign minister said that the visit to Russia was the first step by Palestine after the Paris conference.
"We have arrived in Moscow to exchange views, discuss further steps and increase efforts designed to reach the Middle East settlement," Al-Maliki concluded.