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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Russian Federation
9 September 2006




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Unofficial translation from Russian

Transcript of Remarks and Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at Joint Press Conference with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas After Their Meeting, Ramallah, September 8, 2006

Foreign Minister Lavrov (speaks after Abbas):
Our talks were very useful and the main conclusion I would like to draw is that President Abbas has firmly made the choice in favor of a political settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on a solid international legal basis. Russia firmly supports this kind of approach and will continue to support it in the future. Russian President Vladimir Putin especially spoke of this at his meeting with Abbas in Sochi in May this year.

We are unanimous in the view that everything needs to be done to establish conditions for the resumption of a dialogue between the parties based on the Road Map. This is not an easy path and it will require, of course, efforts from both sides. President Abbas is not only thinking of this, but also has concrete plans for advancement toward this goal. We agree that it is inadmissible to put up with violence and incitement.

We actively support the work Abbas heads to ensure the uniform positions of all the Palestinians. Of course, the Israelis too must travel their part of the road. We yesterday and today spoke of this in Tel Aviv. It's the well-known questions: the necessity to avoid any unilateral actions that would prejudge final status issues, the notorious separation barrier, the extrajudicial killings - all this must be brought to an end as part of the efforts to create conditions for a return to the Road Map.

We also consider the arrests of members of the Palestinian government, parliament and local bodies inadmissible. I agree with Abbas that considering the high emotional tension of the issue, freeing the Israeli soldier and Palestinian prisoners could of course change the atmosphere and create the conditions so necessary for dialogue resumption. It is very important to do everything for the way out of this crisis to become the start of practical steps by the Palestinians and Israelis to implement the Road Map. Russia as a member of the UN Security Council and a member of the Middle East Quartet will together with its Quartet partners and other countries of the region facilitate this in every possible way. We will continue rendering the Palestinians assistance, so they can overcome the present social and economic hardships as soon as possible.

In conclusion I will once again express my gratitude to Mahmoud Abbas and other members of the Palestinian leadership for the hospitality we traditionally felt in Ramallah.

Question: Regarding the proposals that were submitted to the UN Security Council by the League of Arab States as well as Italy's offer to deploy its peacekeeping troops in the Palestinian territories. What is your attitude to this?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: We have consistently been supportive of a comprehensive approach to the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as is actually provided by the relevant UN Security Council decisions. Russia has more than once suggested holding a special international event which would consider ways to realize just this kind of settlement embracing all the tracks. Therefore, we support the LAS initiative to convene an international conference which is directed precisely at unblocking all crisis tangles in the Middle East. We also share the opinion that of key importance in this respect are efforts directed at resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

As to the possibility of deploying peacekeepers in the Palestinian territories under the aegis of the UN or in another capacity, if the parties see that as being useful, we will of course back up such an approach.

Question: There has appeared information that Russia may discontinue its construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant should Iran expel international inspectors. To what extent does this correspond to the Russian position?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: As regards your question, this is not information but a provocation of the first water. There are quite a few people wishing, from different sides at that, to exacerbate the situation surrounding the problem of Iran's nuclear program. The aim of such provocations is but one - those are engaging in them who want to realize some other agenda instead of tackling the main and only task facing the world community in relation to this matter, notably a nonviolation of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. All the other approaches, like the one you've mentioned, are directed at thwarting this aim and achieving other, unrelated results.

September 9, 2006

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