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Russia denies claim it saved Israel from UN resolution to create Palestine state

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova delivers a speech during a press conference at the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow, Russia on 16 March 2017 [Nikita Shvetsov/Anadolu Agency]
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova delivers a speech during a press conference at the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow, Russia on 16 March 2017 [Nikita Shvetsov/Anadolu Agency]

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Wednesday refuted an Israeli media report claiming that in 2016 Russian President Vladimir Putin saved Israel from a potential UN Security Council resolution spearheaded by the administration of former US President Barack Obama that would have forced Israel to setup a Palestinian state based on the 1948 borders, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

Zakhrova described the Israeli paper’s report as “totally absurd”, adding that Russia already recognised a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders in 1988, and reaffirmed Russia’s position in support of direct negotiations for a two-state solution, which is why she said it would be “incredible” for Russia to oppose a resolution stating exactly that.

Israel Hayom newspaper claimed on 15 June that Russia did not support a UN Security Council Resolution that the Obama administration considered pushing in order to force parameters for a peace agreement to end the Palestine-Israel conflict.

The paper based its claim on phone records between the US President Donald Trump’s former adviser Michael Flynn and Russia’s Ambassador to the US at the time Sergey Kislyak that had recently been declassified.

After being informed of details of a resolution the US was planning to push through in November 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and explained that it would disrupt regional stability and harm Israel.

READ: Russia warns Israel against expansionist actions

Israeli Hayom continued saying that Netanyahu asked Putin to state that he intended to use his UNSC veto to scupper the resolution. But Putin refused.

Two months before his term ended, Obama worked on another resolution that would oblige Israel to accept a Palestinian state based on the 1948 borders.

Again, Netanyahu sought help from Putin and explained that Obama’s new resolution would do serious harm to Israel and could destabilise the region.

Putin was convinced, Netanyahu said, and agreed that if the resolution came to a vote, Russia would veto it forcing Obama to abandon his plan, according to the report.

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