World, Middle East

Russia urges de-escalation in East Jerusalem

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggests holding ministerial meeting on Palestinian-Israeli settlement

Elena Teslova   | 05.05.2021
Russia urges de-escalation in East Jerusalem

MOSCOW

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov voiced concerns on Wednesday about escalating tensions in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

“Of course, we are convinced of the need for an early de-escalation, which would be in the interests of both Palestinians and Israelis," he said at a news conference in Moscow, following a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riyadh al-Maliki.

Lavrov said Russia is working on intensifying the work of the Middle East Quartet -- Russia, theUS, EU and UN -- on Palestinian-Israeli settlement and contended that the format was revived after Joe Biden assumed the US presidency.

"In order to activate this platform, we are currently working with other members of the Quartet to consider the possibility of organizing a meeting of the Quartet at the level of foreign ministers," he said.

Lavrov supported the idea of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gathering an international conference on Palestinian-Israeli settlement, stressing that the Quartet has to maintain "steady contacts" with the Arab League on the issue.

Maliki supported Lavrov's idea of a Quartet ministerial meeting, saying "only the Quartet can activate the political process," as he praised Russia's role.

Maliki said that one country cannot be the only mediator on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement issue, even an influential one, citing the US during the administration of Donald Trump – a position that was "clearly in support of Israel.”

"We are really interested in activating the political process. We see that this can only be done with the help of the Quartet of international mediators, and Russia's role here is fundamental and main," he said.

The Middle East Quartet was formed to consolidate efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Palestine-Israel conflict dates to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

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