Russia supports direct talks between Israel, Palestine
Russian, Israeli foreign ministers also discuss Syrian crisis, Iran nuclear deal
Russia on Thursday voiced support for the resumption of direct talks between Israel and Palestine, saying it is ready to facilitate the process.
At a news conference in Moscow following a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country is ready to contribute to either organizing a bilateral meeting, including on its territory, "if the parties are ready for this" or taking part in the work of the Middle East Quartet (the UN, US, EU, and Russia).
“We are interested in such a meeting taking place after a long break. At this stage, we are talking about the possibility of ministerial-level talks,” he said.
Lavrov added that all the participants of the Quartet had agreed to restart the work.
“When this happens depends on all the participants of the Quartet. We are ready to do it at any time because we consider it useful to exchange views on how the international community can help create conditions for an agreement between Israel and Palestine,” he said.
For his part, Lapid made it clear that such a meeting will not be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September because as of now, "there is nothing to discuss."
Asked if there were peace talks going on with Syria, Lapid replied in the negative, adding: “We will not return the Golan Heights to Syria.”
Turning to the Iran nuclear deal, Lapid said Israel will not let Iran become a nuclear power and if the rest of the world does not take measures, Israel will act.
“This is the problem of the whole world. A nuclear Iran will lead to a new round of the nuclear race, an arms race in the Middle East. The last thing any of us would like to see is nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands. The world must prevent Iran from developing nuclear potential. If the world does not cope with this, Israel reserves the right to act. Israel will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power,” he said.