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Letter dated 27 February 2013 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I have the honour to enclose herewith the Joint Statement of the first session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, held in Moscow on 20 February 2013 (see annex).
I should be grateful if you would circulate this letter and the enclosed Joint Statement as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 36, and of the Security Council.
Annex to the letter dated 27 February 2013 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General.
Joint Statement of the first session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum
20 February 2013
The first session of the Arab-Russian Cooperation Forum on the level of Ministers for Foreign Affairs was held on 20 February 2013 in Moscow.
The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (the host country), H.E. Dr. Adnan Mansour, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of the Republic of Lebanon (presidency of the League of Arab States Ministerial Council), and H.E. Dr. Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS). The League of Arab States was also represented by (the Forum mechanism) H.E. Nasser Al-Muzayyan, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait in Moscow (preceding presidency of the LAS Ministerial Council), H.E. Mr. Mohamed Kamel Amr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt (next presidency of the LAS Ministerial Council), and H.E. Mr. Hoshyar Zebari, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq (presidency of the current Arab summit).
The most critical international issues and some major aspects of the current situation in the Middle East of mutual concern were discussed by the Ministers during the Forum. Deliberations took place in an atmosphere of openness and common will to achieve further development and strengthening of mutual cooperation between the Russian Federation and the member States of the League of Arab States, based on the foundations and principles stated in the Memorandum of Association of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum signed by the Russian Federation and the League of Arab States. The aim of the Forum is to ensure achieving the goals required to establish a solid and concrete partnership to serve the vital interests of both sides.
Regional and international issues
In the context of discussions on regional security, the participants agreed that the issue of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict is of paramount importance and should not be overshadowed by any other regional development. They reiterated their commitment to finding a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to this conflict using the recognized principles and provisions of the international legal framework, including the Charter of the United Nations, implementation of the Security Council resolutions, especially 242 (1967) and, and the relevant General Assembly resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the road map, the Arab Peace Initiative and the concept of land for peace. The Ministers highlighted total rejection of all the unilateral Israeli actions aimed at altering the identity of Jerusalem, changing its geographic and demographic realities, and called upon UNESCO to exert efforts to preserve Islamic and Christian holy sites and secure them from repeated attacks, noting the efforts of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the preservation of these holy sites.
The Ministers strongly condemned Israel’s geographical and demographical changes in the occupied Arab territories, and regarded these changes as null and void, and consider them a blatant abuse of international law, international legitimacy, and United Nations resolutions. They also strongly condemned announced plans of the Israeli authorities to expand illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as the implementation of such plans could jeopardize the establishment of a viable Palestinian State, and called for a halt to all Israeli settlement activities and for the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli talks on the above-mentioned basis aimed at establishing an independent, sovereign, viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian State on the basis of the borders of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, achieving a two-State solution with the two States living side by side in peace and security. In this context the Ministers highlighted the role of Russia in the international quartet, stressing the need to increase the Quartet’s entrusted role.
The Ministers stressed the importance of putting an end to the Israeli occupation of all occupied Arab territories, which include Palestinian, Syrian and remaining Lebanese territories. They also called for a settlement of all outstanding final status issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (water, security, borders, refugees and Jerusalem). The Ministers welcomed the ceasefire reached between the Gaza authorities and Israel on 21 November 2012 through Egyptian mediation and expressed their appreciation for the efforts made by Egypt in this regard.
The Ministers called for the immediate lifting of the ongoing inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip and the release of all Palestinian and Arab prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons, and called upon Israel for permanent regular release of all financial dues to the Palestinian Authority. The Ministers welcomed the General Assembly resolution granting to Palestine non-member Observer State status in the United Nations as a step towards obtaining full membership. They welcomed Russia’s willingness to host an international conference on the Middle East in Moscow upon agreement with all concerned parties. The Ministers expressed their strong support for all efforts aiming at achieving Palestinian national reconciliation, including meetings between the Palestinian factions in Cairo.