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Talks among US, Israel, Arab countries without Palestine will not resolve Mideast conflict: Russia

January 18, 2024 at 8:51 pm

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, in Moscow, Russia on December 13, 2023 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

Russia said, Thursday, that talks involving the US, Israel and Arab countries without Palestine will not resolve the ongoing Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, which has killed nearly 24,700 victims, Anadolu Agency reports.

“All these contacts do not imply direct dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, but assume that the grown men will agree on how the Palestinians will continue to live, and then present it to them. It won’t have any success,” Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said at a news conference in Moscow where he summarised the results of Moscow’s diplomacy in 2023.

Lavrov said comments by US President, Joe Biden, and European countries on the need to move forward in the creation of a Palestinian State shows that they understand it is very difficult to calm the situation without doing so.

“But starting a movement is not enough. We need to get together and create, we need to bring the Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiating table,” he said.

He also said it is not possible for the US to “whisper and negotiate with someone, trying to decide for the Palestinians what Palestine will look like.”

READ: Another Palestinian journalist killed in Gaza; death toll rises to 119 since 7 October

 “The Palestinians themselves must decide. And what the US is doing now, trying to write everything out for them (Palestinians) and make it convenient for them (the US), is a manifestation of the same neo-colonial practices,” he added.

Expressing that Russia condemned attacks on civilians and festival participants in Israel at the start of the recent clashes, Lavrov underlined that Moscow also condemned statements by Israeli officials who called Palestinians “animals”​​​​​​​.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, on 7 October,  which Tel Aviv said killed nearly 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

At least 24,448 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have since been killed in the Israeli response, mostly women and children, and 61,504 injured, according to local health authorities.

According to the UN, around 85 per cent of Gazans have been displaced by the Israeli onslaught, while all of them are food insecure. Hundreds of thousands of people are living without shelter and ⁠less than half of aid trucks are entering the Territory than before the start of the conflict.

‘US excuses for strikes on Yemen look pitiful’

Turning to Yemen, Lavrov said Washington’s excuses for conducting strikes against the Houthi group look “pitiful”, as he noted a NATO-led intervention in 2011 that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya.

“The same chaos (in Libya) is observed in what is now being done in relation to Yemen. This is perfectly clear to everyone. And the exculpatory statements that come from Washington — they look, you know, somehow very pathetic, I would say,” said Lavrov.

The Foreign Minister commented on a statement by his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, who said he is hearing from every country, such as the Middle East region, that they want the US to be present.

“How much they want is difficult for me to judge, I have to ask them, but one country, called Iraq, made a decision several years ago, which reads: ‘Dear American gentlemen, thank you very much, you stayed with us here, your military bases were here – let us somehow finish this and we will take you home.’ But the Americans simply don’t leave,” said Lavrov.

He further called for halting aggression against Yemen because “the more the Americans and British bomb, the less the Houthis want to talk.”

Lavrov also expressed hope that recent tensions between Iran and Pakistan will not complicate diplomatic efforts regarding Afghanistan.​​​​​​​

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