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Russia’s ready to mediate Israel-Palestine conflict, says UN envoy

Russia’s deputy UN envoy says Moscow is ready to take up the role of neutral arbiter abandoned by Washington

(RT) – Moscow is ready to become a new mediator in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Russian deputy UN envoy Vladimir Safronkov said. He also added that Russia is ready to host direct talks between the two sides.

Russia is ready to become “an honest mediator” in the Middle Eastern peace process, Nebenzia said at the UN Security Council meeting, after a resolution on Jerusalem demanding the US decision recognizing it as the Israeli capital be withdrawn was vetoed by Washington.

The Russian representative called on all parties to “show restraint”and refrain from any provocative actions. He also said that any unilateral action could exacerbate the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, making the already complicated peace process even more difficult.

Any kind of unilateral action concerning Jerusalem “increases the risk of a conflict” in the region and makes direct talks as well as the peace process as a whole more difficult, the Russian envoy to the UN, Nebenzia said, commenting on the issue. He also drew attention to the fact that the issue of Jerusalem is “the most sensitive issue in the [Israeli-Palestinian peace process] architecture.”

The resolution drafted by Egypt declared any decisions aimed at altering the status of Jerusalem null and void and called for them to be rescinded. The document was voted on 14-1, with the US being the only member of the UNSC to vote against it.

This decision further isolated the US in its unilateral policy towards the issue of Jerusalem. Even its allies in the UK and France were reluctant to support Washington in this issue.

The French envoy to the UN said in his speech that the US still “should explain compatibility of its decision [on Jerusalem] with the international consensus.” He also added that France “regrets” the outcome of the vote that has become a symbol of 14 UNSC members’ willingness to “confirm their attachment to the international law.”

Despite the fact that the resolution was not passed by the UNSC, the vote itself was a “very significant and reassuring” step that showed that the international community understands that the US decision on Jerusalem is “illegal,” Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian labor minister, told RT. He also said that the outcome of the vote showed that the US is becoming increasingly isolated in its policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and would not be able to “play the role of mediator in this peace process” in the future.

The former minister went on to say that the US was in fact always “too biased and less sensitive to the international law” in its efforts aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it was a “major structural defect in the peace process that contributed to its failure.” By moving to an even more biased stance, the US ultimately deprived itself of a role of the peace process mediator, Khatib said, adding that “it is a dramatic and important setback to the US policy in the Middle East.”

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