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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Russian Federation
28 December 2005




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Unofficial translation from Russian
Mikhail Kamynin, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Media Question Regarding Israel's Airstrikes in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip

Question: In the last few days the Israeli air force carried out a number of missile strikes in the northern part of the Gaza Strip and in southern Lebanon. The Israelis say they have done so in revenge for the shooting attacks on their territories by Palestinian militants. So far, it seems, there were no casualties, but the expansion of the sphere of violence and exacerbation are evident. How could you comment upon these reports?

Answer: Indeed, according to incoming reports, yesterday Israeli planes struck "training points" belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command south of Beirut. There were no reports of deaths or injuries. The Israeli raid was carried out in response to rocket fire on Qiryat Shemona, in northern Israel, as a result of which several Israelis received light wounds. Simultaneously there continue Israel's air raids targeting the northern part of the Gaza Strip to prevent, so the Israelis claim, Palestinians from firing Qassam rockets on Israeli territories bordering the Strip. The Israelis also talk about the possibility of forming a so called "security zone" in the north of Gaza.

Moscow is concerned by the escalation of tensions around the Gaza Strip and in southern Lebanon. In jeopardy are the lives of civilians in Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. This cannot be allowed to happen. What's alarming is that the exchange of blows, in our opinion, can only escalate the situation further still, and provoke a new dangerous spiral of violence and counterviolence.

In this connection we urge all the parties involved to show restraint and composure, abide by their commitments to prevent terrorist manifestations and violence, and not lead matters to a larger-scale confrontation, which may undermine the chances of rectifying the situation in Palestinian-Israeli relations and additionally complicate conditions in Lebanon and in the region. Russia will assist overcoming this flare-up of tension and resuming advance towards a comprehensive political settlement in the Middle East.

December 28, 2005

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