Russia hopes that the meeting of the Quartet of international mediators of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict due on July 11 in Washington will create opportunities for the resumptions of direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.
“We have strong hope that decisions made during the Washington meeting of the Quartet (Russia, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States) will help create circumstances for the resumption of the talks aimed at creating an independent, integral, sovereign and democratic Palestinian state to live in peace and security alongside Israel,” Lavrov said during talks in Moscow with a visiting delegation from the Palestinian movement Fatah.
Peace between the Israelis and Palestinians can be reached based on internationally recognized and well-known legal principles, Lavrov stressed.
“We will take part in the ministerial meeting of the Quartet… proceeding from these positions,” he said.
The Fatah representatives’ visit to Moscow is “quite timely,” Lavrov said.
“As a country with many friends in the Middle East, as a UN member, and as a participant in the Middle East Quartet, we are interested in helping drive the issue from the dead-lock,” the minister said.
Israel maintains the occupation of Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, since the 1967 Six-Day War. Peace negotiations between the sides have come to a standstill, and the Palestinians have threatened to turn to the UN for the recognition of an independent state in September if no progress in talks with the Israelis has been reached by that time.
Israel has rejected a proposal by U.S. President Barack Obama to accept the pre-1967 borders as a basis for talks with the Palestinians, saying that such borders would be “indefensible.”
The resumption of stalled talks has also been hampered by a row over East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians have claimed as the capital of their future state. Israel calls all of Jerusalem its “eternal and indivisible” capital.