Russia will support a Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
“As long ago as 1989, when the Palestinian state was proclaimed, the Soviet Union at the time recognized the statehood of Palestinians…since then we have had in Moscow the embassy of the state of Palestine headed by a full fledged ambassador,” Lavrov said in an interview with CNN, due to be released on Sunday.
“Yes, we have no difficulty,” he said, when asked if Russian would support the Palestinian bid.
He also said the Palestinians “deserve to be heard, and to see what the international community thinks of the case.”
“The reason why they want a UN vote is that they want to emphasize their urgency for the negotiations to be resumed on the basis of existing legal framework, which is composed of Security Council resolutions and decisions by the Arab quartet,” Lavrov added.
Israel and the U.S. strongly oppose the move, saying the long-running Middle East conflict can be resolved only through negotiations.
Washington has pledged to veto any Palestinian statehood bid in the UN Security Council. But the Palestinian authorities have said they will push for at least non-full member status in the United Nations via a General Assembly vote. The majority of UN member states support the Palestinian bid.
“It’s obvious that Israel and Palestine have to sit down and talk,” Lavrov added.
On Syria, Lavrov said that Russia would not join the U.S. and other Western powers in calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s removal because Moscow did not want to to “instigate confrontation.”