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updated 12:00 PM UTC, Mar 9, 2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s message welcoming participants in the international seminar on peace settlement between Palestinians and Israelis

I’d like to welcome all participants in the international seminar on peace between Palestinians and Israelis, which was organised by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Russia has consistently worked to achieve a fair Palestinian-Israeli settlement as soon as possible on a universally recognised international legal basis, in part, by implementing the Madrid principles, relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and earlier agreements. Mutually acceptable accords should ensure the formation of an independent, contiguous and viable Palestinian state that will co-exist in peace and security with Israel.

We welcome the stance of the Palestinian leaders, which they have reaffirmed repeatedly – that there is no alternative to negotiations. We are pleased to note that the leader of the new Israeli government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed support for a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem twice in the past month. We hope that this position will be backed by practical steps. For our part, we will continue facilitating the resumption of talks – both via bilateral channels and at different international venues, first and foremost, in the format of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators.

It is necessary to monitor the situation in the Gaza Strip where the population continues to experience serious humanitarian difficulties. There is considerable demand for steps aimed at lifting or at least easing the blockade. We consider it important to provide Palestinians with the resources pledged by the participants in the International Conference on Palestine, “Reconstructing Gaza”, that took place in Cairo last October, and to provide them on time. Russia strongly supports the efforts to unify Palestinian ranks on the basis of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Arab Peace Initiative.

It is in the interests of the international community for Palestine to acquire national sovereignty, which will help strengthen peace and stability in the region. I am confident that your meeting will also make a contribution to our common efforts.

I wish you productive discussions and all the best.

Sergey Lavrov

Moscow, July 1, 2015

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