Russia, EU Urge Direct Israeli-Palestinian Talks

MOSCOW, December 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and the European Union believe the Palestinians and Israelis should open direct peace negotiations without any preconditions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

“The parties should enter into direct and substantive negotiations without preliminary conditions with the aim of achieving a long-term resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said in a statement adopted at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels on Friday.

They called on the Palestinian leadership to use the recognition of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a UN non-member observer state constructively and not take any steps that could deepen the misunderstanding with Israel and further complicate a negotiated settlement.

Russia and the EU urged Israel to avoid any steps undermining the PA’s financial situation.

Russia has repeatedly called for a stronger effort to push Palestinians and Israel toward dialogue and revitalize the work of the Quartet of international mediators in the Mideast conflict, including the United States, the EU, the UN, and Russia.

The Quartet was established in 2002 and had its last meeting in September 2011 at the UN headquarters.


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