By Israel Hayom—
Russia is ready to act as an impartial mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov said Monday at a U.N. Security Council meeting.
Russian media further quoted Safronkov as saying Moscow was willing to host direct talks between the parties.
Last week, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for the United Nations to replace Washington as the Mideast mediator, saying the Palestinians would not accept any role for the U.S. in the regional peace process over its “obvious pro-Israel bias.”
Russia is ready to become “an honest mediator” in the Middle East peace process, Safronkov said after the U.S. vetoed a draft resolution demanding Washington’s decision on Jerusalem be withdrawn.
He called on both Israel and the Palestinians to “show restraint” and refrain from any provocative actions, warning unilateral action by either party could exacerbate the conflict and with it, the peace process.
Jerusalem’s status has been one of the stalled peace talks’ most complex issues, and the international community supports resolving it only as part of a future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Trump’s decision and the U.S.’ subsequent veto Monday were largely seen as further isolating Washington in its unilateral policy towards Jerusalem.
French Ambassador Francois Delattre said Monday that the U.S. “should explain the compatibility of its decision with the international consensus.” He said France “regrets” the outcome of the vote, which showed the other 14 Security Council members’ “willingness to confirm their adherence to international law.”
A Palestinian official told the Russian state-run news network RT that while the resolution was not adopted, the vote itself was a “very significant and reassuring” step reflecting the international community’s understanding that Trump’s decision on Jerusalem was “illegal.”
Former Palestinian Labor Minister Ghassan Khatib further said that the fact the U.S. used its veto power showed it was becoming “increasingly isolated in its policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” and therefore would not be able to “play the role of mediator” in the future.
Washington has always favored Israel’s positions, he said, adding that by ignoring Palestinian and world leaders’ warnings and pushing forward with its Jerusalem move, the Trump administration “ultimately deprived itself of a role of the peace process mediator. It is a dramatic and important setback to the U.S. policy in the Middle East,” he said.