"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Russia is deeply upset by what is happening in Palestine. We condemn any attempts to undermine the Palestinian statehood which we want to establish as soon as possible. We support the action taken by the PNA President, Mahmoud Abbas, to restore law and order fully in line with his constitutional powers. We support Mr. Abbas’s intentions to continue acting in the same vein, as he seeks to remove any obstacles that may hinder the Palestinians from realizing their cherished dream of creating their own state.
Russia in its national capacity and as a member of the Quartet of international mediators will help restore Palestinian unity in every way and support the actions of Mr. Abbas in this direction in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and other international instruments. Only on this basis is it possible to resolve the crisis.
Russia will also participate in efforts to render humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians, primarily those who have found themselves in a complicated situation in Gaza.
We welcome the accords that were reached by PNA President Mahmoud Abbas in Sharm el-Sheikh at his meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, about the need for Israel to take urgent concrete measures to alleviate the financial and socioeconomic situation of the Palestinians. During our talks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem yesterday and today we called on the Israeli leadership to fulfill all these promises and accords and take additional steps in this direction, while at the same time not forgetting about the need to establish conditions for resuming the peace process.
We agreed with the PNA President to coordinate further our actions for achieving all these objectives. We will be glad to welcome him to Moscow. We will arrange the date additionally.
Question: How can you comment upon the crimes which the occupation forces have committed in Gaza today. Were these crimes a response to the meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh and the Quartet meeting?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: We must firmly and relentlessly speak out against all force-based actions and against every provocation which probably is still bound to follow. There are quite a few of those who would like to undermine the possibilities to normalize the situation, and the very foundations of the peace process. There have appeared speculations about two Palestines. This could suit many, not just one party. We must counter this resolutely while firmly staying on the ground of international law and the decisions of the international community.
We are against all and any terrorist acts, against rocket attacks, against pinpoint liquidations, against the arrest of political leaders and against troop operations. This vicious circle of violence must be broken.
Question: What concrete forms may Russian assistance take? What does it intend to undertake in order to back up Palestine and overcome the Palestinian crisis?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: We have been rendering assistance to the Palestinians in a variety of forms. Today we specified the requirements of the PNA in assistance. In the first place, this is humanitarian assistance. We will promptly consider these requests.
Question: Does Russia support the possible appointment of Tony Blair as the Quartet’s special envoy?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: As I understand, the candidacy of Tony Blair was put forward by the British side. The Quartet members backed it up. Of course, we considered the fact that he represents a EU country, so we also took into account the opinion of the EU Quartet participants. Tony Blair spoke by telephone to Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday. They discussed this prospect, among other things. Our position was explicitly confirmed. If the Quartet is in favor, then we will welcome Blair’s contribution to efforts to normalize the situation in the Palestinian territories. We agreed the terms of reference, the mandate of Tony Blair as special envoy for the Quartet. This mandate applies to helping the Palestinians with the organization of life and the administrative system to restore and strengthen law enforcement agencies and to providing economic assistance and humanitarian aid. All this is very important. Abu Mazen also reaffirmed all this to me at the meeting. He expects that after this appointment, when Tony Blair and his staff begins to work actively, the very support of Abu Mazen as the Palestinians’ legitimate leader will acquire a tangible outline. It is a pity that this support now comes belatedly. We had advocated that immediately after the election of Abu Mazen as President assistance should be lent to him in a more substantial and active fashion, but, as the say, “let bygones be bygones.” Let us hope that such mistakes will not occur now. Tony Blair will in accordance with the agreed mandate be working on the realization of the Quartet aims under its guidance and in consultations with it.