Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Mr. Vladimir Safronkov, at the Secutiry Council meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
I thank the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, for his substantive briefing.
We fully support the work of Mr. Mladenov as an objective broker. We in Moscow we are very carefully following the development of the situation on the Israeli-Palestinian track. We are convinced that resolving the Palestinian question is of fundamental importance for the longstanding normalization of the situation in the Middle East. No other regional challenges can obscure that fact.
The ongoing stalemate in the political process is of deep concern to us. Under those conditions, any kind of unilateral act increases the risk of unleashing a spiral of conflict and makes it more difficult to relaunch direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Washington’s recent decisions on Jerusalem were met with serious criticism, which turned into mass protests.
That is understandable given that Jerusalem is the cradle of the three monotheistic religions and is the most sensitive issue in the peace process architecture — as well as the fact that the question of the status of the city needs to be considered on the basis of well-known internationally recognized parameters, within the framework of a bilateral dialogue between the Palestinians and Israelis.
We call upon all parties to show restraint and to refrain from any actions that could be fraught with dangerous consequences. We must not forget that precisely such a method of settlement was approved in many Security Council resolutions adopted in recent decades. They remain fully in force today.
Against the background of the settlement activity by Israel, the provocative rhetoric on both sides, the outbursts of violence and the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, we continue to hear about the erosion of a possible realization of the two-State solution to the Palestinian problem. At the same time, we remain committed to a resolution that provides for an independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with Israel. And West Jerusalem will be the capital of the State of Israel.
We welcome the further consolidation of the unity of the Palestinian people with the assistance of the Egyptian leadership. We consider it a step in the right direction. For our part, we will continue encouraging all Palestinian parties to overcome their internal divisions as quickly as possible.
A just and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East is something that can be achieved only if there is a firm international legal basis, which includes the Security Council’s relevant resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative. Russia will continue acting both on a bilateral basis and through the Middle Eastern Quartet of international mediators to help to intensify international efforts in the quest to find a way out of the current impasse in a resolution to the Middle East question. We think that the energetic role played by the regional players, in part by Egypt and Jordan, is important.
At the same time, we need to ensure a fully functional United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. That is the main mechanism for alleviating the burden of the Palestinian refugees in the Middle East and, ultimately, it is extending assistance to those Arabs States where the refugees find themselves. We believe that, in the current conditions, including those throughout the whole region, the issue of moving as quickly as possible to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is becoming increasingly topical. We therefore reiterate the relevance of our proposal to convene a summit in Russia between the leaders of Palestine and Israel. We are ready to be honest mediators.
Russia supports trust-based and friendly relations with all the peoples in the Middle East without exception — Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs. Our relationships are not burdened by the negative heritage of the past. Russia’s policy has never included colonialism or interference in the internal affairs, which, let us be honest, became the reason of the lamentable situation that we have in the region today. But we cannot give up. Let us look to the future.
The priority tasks remain the same — pooling our efforts, fighting terrorism and settling the regional crisis. Implementing the proposal of Foreign Minister Lavrov to conduct a comprehensive review in the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East would help to resolve this task.
We are ready for such cooperation.