Russia: Only direct talks can bring peace

By Elad Benari, 27/12/16 04:11

Russia says the only way to achieve peace is through direct Israel-PA negotiations, affirms readiness to host Netanyahu and Abbas.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Flash 90)

Despite being one of the 14 member-states of the Security Council to vote in favor of the anti-Israel resolution last week, Russia said on Monday that the only way to achieve a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is through direct negotiations.“Our experience shows convincingly that a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is only possible through direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis without any preconditions,” said a statement from the foreign ministry in Moscow.

“It is with this aim in view that Russia has been working and will continue working as a member of the Middle East Quartet of international intermediaries to facilitate such negotiations. We would also like to reaffirm our readiness to host a meeting of the leaders of Israel and Palestine in Moscow,” added the statement.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said several months ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive peace talks that have been stalled since 2014.

Several days later, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Putin held a telephone conversation in which they discussed the peace process, among other things, though a Kremlin spokesman later clarified there was “nothing concrete” yet on a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.

Several weeks ago, Russia said it was waiting for Israeli and PA proposals on holding a direct meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.

Russia’s efforts come as France is also trying to reignite stalled peace talks through an international summit which will convene in mid-January.

Israel has long opposed the French initiative, saying that the only way to reach a peace agreement is through direct talks with the PA.

The PA, however, refuses direct negotiations with Israel and has instead chosen to impose preconditions on such talks.