Russia supports creation of independent Palestinian state, urges talks

January 19th, 2011 - 12:13 am ICT by BNO News  

JERICHO (BNO NEWS) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday reiterated his support towards the creation of an independent Palestinian state as he began his Middle East tour.

During a press conference after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Medvedev said that Russia supports the right of Palestinians to establish an independent state, and urged greater use of the capacities of international and regional organizations to advance the settlement process.

Medvedev added that the creation of a Palestinian state would benefit everybody, including Israel. Russia has recognized Palestine as an independent state since 1988, when it was known as the Soviet Union (U.R.S.S). Medvedev said that Russia has not changed its stance.

The Russian President also confirmed his intention to hold an international conference in Moscow on the Middle East. Medvedev said that the international legal framework needed to achieve tangible results in addressing the Middle East conflict is already in place. The prospects for the conference will become clear following the upcoming meeting of the Middle East Quartet in Munich.

The Russian leader has now begun his first visit to the occupied West Bank territories and Medvedev added that his government also supported the establishment of East Jerusalem as capital of a future Palestinian state, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

“Russia’s position remains unchanged. Russia made its choice a long time ago,” Medvedev was cited as saying. “We supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem.”

Israel is alarmed as Russia joined a string of recognitions of the Palestinian state from Latin American countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Israeli officials fear that Russia’s recognition might induce further nations to follow its steps.

Last month, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that his country has recognized Palestine as an independent state. He made the statement during the Mercosur summit.

With the announcement, Bolivia joined the list of Latin American and South American countries consisting of Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela which have all recognized an independent Palestinian state with the borders which were established in 1967. “Bolivia recognizes Palestine as an independent state along 1967 borders, together with Brazil and Argentina,” President Morales said during the Mercosur summit in December.

Shortly afterward, Uruguay announced that it would also recognize a Palestinian state in 2011. The declarations were a response to a request made by Abbas in late November.

After the announcements from the South American countries, Palestinian negotiators urged European countries, for the first time, to also recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip despite Israel’s refusal.

Russia has allocated around $30 million to the Palestinian Territories in order to aid the impoverished population, according to Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko. About 80 percent of Gaza residents live below the poverty line.

On Tuesday evening, Medvedev will depart for Jordan in order to continue his Middle East tour. He will meet with King Abdullah II and hold top-level talks in Amman on Wednesday.

Russia will discuss the construction of Jordan’s first nuclear plant. The European country is expected to aid in the development of the Jordanian nuclear plant project following their 10-year nuclear cooperation agreement signed in 2009.

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