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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Russian Federation
23 August 2005




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Unofficial translation from Russian

Mikhail Kamynin, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Question from Interfax News Agency Regarding Israel's Fulfillment of Its Gaza and West Bank Withdrawal Plan


Question: How do you assess the course of Israel's implementation of its plan to withdraw from Gaza and the northern West Bank? Can it be held that the evacuation has been completed?

Answer: Israel today announced the completion of the evacuation of the Israeli population from the Gaza Strip and partly from settlements in the northern part of the West Bank (two of the four settlements still left). The withdrawal of settlements and residents did not go easily, but on the whole without serious complications. This to no small extent was facilitated by the coordination established by Palestinians and Israelis in the field of security, thanks to which a stable situation is being maintained on the ground.

At the same time, the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank envisages the demolition of houses and military infrastructure and the subsequent handing over of the control of these territories to the PNA. This, by various estimates, is going to take another month to a month and a half. Only then will it be possible to consider Israel's evacuation from a part of the Palestinian territories completed.

We regard with satisfaction the first results of the implementation of the plan for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and a part of the West Bank. We presume that in the course of the contacts going on between the PNA and Israeli authorities, with the Quartet's active assistance, a solution will be found to the issues of economic and social rehabilitation of the Palestinian territories, including such sensitive ones as ensuring free movement of people and simplifying the transit of goods between populated areas in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank. This would help to improve the living conditions for the Palestinian population substantially.

Moscow is viewing Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank as an important step towards resuming the implementation of the Road Map and restoring a full-scale Palestinian-Israeli negotiation process in the interest of achieving a just and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East.

August 23, 2005

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