Russia Appoints Special Envoy for the Middle East
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced Thursday the appointment of Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Vladimir Safronkov as a special envoy for the Middle East.
The ministry said in a statement that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appointed Safronkov, 56, who will represent Russia during bilateral and multilateral talks, including in the format of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators, working to achieve a lasting and just Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Israeli peace.
Safronkov graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1990. He worked at Moscow’s Embassy in Tunisia from 1991-1995. He has years of experience in Palestinian affairs, and speaks Arabic, Russian and English.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Safronkov’s appointment reflects Moscow’s intention to boost its diplomatic role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
His mission was previously carried out by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin who was handling several regional issues not only the Palestinian problem.
Russia has a Presidential Special Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, who is Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.