(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
PLO Commander: We Support Russia’s Move to Revive Political Process
Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, Abu Youssef stated that the PLO is confident of any role played by Russia and hopes that there will be a serious approach to starting a path leading to ending the occupation.
“We asked its (Russian) officials to join forces with most of the world’s countries in order to block US decisions against the Palestinian people and their rights,” asserted Abu Yusuf.
He described Russia as a “friendly country” of the Palestinians that has always supported the rights of the Palestinian people.
He explained that “basically we were looking forward to an effective Russian role within the mechanism of an international alternative to the path of the previous settlement, which was exclusively sponsored by the United States.”
“We expect Russia, China, the EU to be a major part of the international mechanism. We want an international role in the face of the deal of the century.”
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia would be ready to host a meeting between Palestinians and Israel and to act as a mediator.
“It is impossible to create stability in the Middle East, including in Libya and Iraq, without a solution to the oldest regional problem, the Palestinian problem,” Lavrov said on his trip to Rome.
“We support the need for a resumption of direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We confirm again our offer from several years ago to host a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Russia without any preconditions,” asserted the Russian Minister.
It is not clear if Lavrov’s statement meant that Russia would play a role in the political process or merely an attempt to bring the views closer and break the deadlock.
A few weeks ago, Russia’s special envoy to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, confirmed his country’s support for the initiative proposed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold an “international peace conference.”
Bogdanov praised “Abbas’ wise stances that support stability in the region on the basis of the international legitimacy resolutions.”
The Russian official reiterated his country’s support for the Palestinian people and their right to determine their fate and to establish an independent state on the 1967 border, with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas is seeking to launch an international peace conference, which will result in an international mechanism involving the quartet committee, including the United States, and European and Arab states, consisting of five or seven states under the umbrella of the United Nations, which is at the heart of a political process with the Palestinians and Israelis.
Abbas tried to convince France of his initiative, but French President Emmanuel Macron was not convinced, unlike his predecessor, Francois Hollande, who launched a two-phase conference in 2016 and 2017.
The Palestinian President personally worked to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to launch an international peace conference using his influence in the region.
The Palestinian ambassador to Moscow Abed al-Hafeez Nofal said that Russia, and not just the US, now has an effective role in the region due to the great changes that have taken place in the Middle East.
US officials said President Donald Trump wanted to see the plan executed in February, but his advisers would prefer a more cautious approach, given the political crisis that swept through Israel over the past week.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that reaching peace is currently impossible and that Trump should focus his energy elsewhere until the Palestinians are ready to compromise.
“I think, personally, it is a waste of time,” Shaked said.
Abbas has repeatedly declared that he would not even listen to the plan after the US declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy to the city, and other decisions taken by the US administration against the Palestinian Authority.
Israel says Washington is the only country capable of overseeing negotiations.