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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Russian Federation
21 March 2008




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Transcript of Remarks and Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at Joint Press Conference with Head of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas, Ramallah, March 21, 2008


At the outset, I would like to thank President Abbas and the Palestinian National Authority leadership for the warm welcome and the very informative talks. The times in the region now are complicated. The tasks before the participants of the peace process are multifaceted. They have to be tackled in a situation where violence fails to be halted so far, and we consider this an absolute priority.

Efforts should be thrown into having shootings halted and the dying of innocent civilians, Palestinians and Israelis alike, ended. The blockade of Gaza is becoming intolerable and it has to be stopped as soon as possible so Gaza could normally live in the social, economic and other regards. The absence of Palestinian unity seriously holds back the positive trends.

We actively support the talks now being held in Sanaa. We consider it extremely important that despite all these problems complicating the peace process, President Abbas together with Prime Minister Olmert are committed to continuation of their talks in order to implement the accords reached in Annapolis, and before the year’s end, agree the parameters for a final settlement. It is equally important to strictly follow the part of the Annapolis accords reconfirming the parties’ duties to implement the Roadmap, including the necessity to refrain from any actions which can prejudge the decision on final status.

In this context we are, of course, concerned by Israel’s settlement activities. We are calling for a complete freeze on them. Russia is committed to peaceful progress; it will be doing everything it can to provide humanitarian, economic and financial assistance to the Palestinians and reinvigorate the efforts of the world community for mobilizing support for the Annapolis process and ensuring its success. For this purpose we have held active consultations with the Quartet members, with Arab countries, with the United Nations and with other entities.

We consider it important to realize the accords that were preliminarily in place and to hold an international meeting in Moscow. We expect that we will soon be able to fix the date for it. The agenda will be very simple. There were the accords adopted in Annapolis, everybody supported them. Let us reaffirm that support and stimulate the parties toward their effective realization.

We consider that the implementation of these accords will have a decisive significance for achieving the objective approved in the United Nations of a comprehensive Middle East settlement on all the tracks without exception.

Within such a peaceful, stable Middle East a unified, strong, effective and secure Palestinian state should occupy a worthy place.

Question: Do you intend to exert pressure on Israel to comply with the Annapolis accords? Another question concerns whether you met in Damascus with the Hamas leadership and whether Russia intends to mediate in any way where reaching a truce between Israel and Hamas is concerned.

Foreign Minister Lavrov: In my opening remarks I touched on both questions and can only repeat what I already said.

Question: Please tell us whether you have familiarized yourself with the proposals of Rice and Gates regarding the deployment of a US missile defense system in Eastern Europe?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: These proposals continue to be studied with the participation of all the agencies that have a bearing on this multilayered problem. We will form our impression in the next few days and will then tell everybody what it is. But in the first place, of course, we will inform our American colleagues.

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