|QUESTION: Mr President, we have a unique situation today in that, for the first time in many years, Russia is the only possible negotiator in at least two of the most pressing international problems. I am referring to the Middle East and the situation in Iran. This places an immense responsibility on Russia, given the complexity of the players involved in these negotiating processes. How do you rate Russia’s chances of success? How difficult is the role Russia is to play in both cases? |
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I think this is a provocative question. That’s a joke, of course, but every joke contains a grain of truth. It is not the first time that I have heard, whether from the press or from my colleagues, that only Russia can act as negotiator now. Next, if it all falls through they would always be able to just say that Russia wasn’t up to the task. We are not responsible for the situation that exists today in the Middle East, but this does not mean that we will not work together with the other participants in this process. We understand our responsibility and are ready to do everything we can to try to break the deadlock everyone has ended up in at present. I think that there are exit routes from this complicated situation. We simply need to understand the reality of the situation and look for compromises.
All the participants in this process need to show their ability to reach agreements and to search for compromise solutions. I do not have a pessimistic view of these problems.
I admit that the situation really does seem at first glance to be at a dead end. An organisation that practically the entire West has long since declared a terrorist group has come to power by legitimate means in Palestine. This is a difficult situation for the participants in the peace process, but I am absolutely sure that there is a way out. Most important of all, and I already said this at my recent press conference, I think it would be a great mistake to cut off aid to the Palestinian people. When talking about the roots and causes of terrorism, after all, what do we generally name as the main causes? Social injustice, poverty and unemployment. So, if we end our aid to ordinary people living in the Palestinian territories would we doing anything to eradicate the causes of terrorism and crime? Of course we would not be.