Russia said on Monday that the only way to achieve a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is through direct negotiations. They said this in spite of their vote in favor of the anti-Israel resolution last week in the UN Security Council.
“Our experience shows convincingly that a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is only possible through direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis without any preconditions. It is with this aim in view that Russia has been working and will continue working as a member of the Middle East Quartet of international intermediaries to facilitate such negotiations. We would also like to reaffirm our readiness to host a meeting of the leaders of Israel and Palestine in Moscow,” said a Moscow Foreign Ministry statement.
A few months ago Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive peace talks stalled since 2014. After that, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Putin held a telephone conversation discussing the peace process, among other things. A Kremlin spokesman said ‘there was “nothing concrete” yet on a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.’
Russia said it was waiting for Israeli and PA proposals about a direct meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu. France is also trying to reignite stalled peace talks through an international summit which will convene in mid-January. But Israel has long opposed the French initiative, saying that the only way to reach a peace agreement is through direct talks with the PA. The French want more outside pressure to do the job: The more nations that participate in the summit bearing down on Israel, the merrier.
The Russian initiative is more in line with what Israel wants though presently Israel sees no partner for peace as the PA refuses direct negotiations with Israel and imposes preconditions on such talks.