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Moscow Angered by Attempts to Drag It to Pressure Palestinians

Moscow Angered by Attempts to Drag It to Pressure Palestinians

Tuesday, 26 May, 2020 - 10:15
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool
Moscow - Raed Jabr

Recent US leaks about Moscow providing an initiative to bridge the views between the Palestinians and the US administration have sparked controversy over the Russian role, prompting Russian officials to deny the information and reaffirm their country’s rejection of the US peace plan in the region.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Russian sources have expressed their discontent with what they said was a “distortion of the content of the telephone conversations between the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Presidential Special Envoy to the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov with Avi Berkowitz, the White House special envoy on the Middle East settlement.

“The conversations reflected a clear US intransigence and an attempt to draw Russia to put pressure on the Palestinians,” the sources emphasized.

They also affirmed Russia’s firm position about Trump’s unilateral peace plan, which is “dangerous because it provides alternatives to international decisions and agreements that are not based on international law.”

On the other hand, Moscow launched a move on two levels: First, it sought to revive the Quartet committee by holding a virtual meeting at the delegate level. Although the meeting did not bring about decisive results, but it consolidated the Russian idea that Washington should not be allowed to monopolize the issue.

Second, Russia has emphasized its readiness to arrange Palestinian-Israeli meetings during a phone call between Bogdanov and Palestinian leader Hussein Sheikh, two days ago.

Moscow has also sent an implicit message about its readiness to assume an effective role in the Palestinian-Israeli file. It sent a response described as positive to a letter sent by President Mahmoud Abbas to President Vladimir Putin, in which he suggested returning to the idea of holding an international peace conference in Moscow.

Russia “is in a delicate position: on the one hand, it does not want to strongly engage in the Palestinian-Israeli file and is busy in Syria, and wants to maintain close relations with the Israelis, and on the other hand, the Kremlin has an important opportunity to enhance its presence at the regional level,” a director of a specialized center for Middle East affairs told Asharq Al-Awsat.

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