Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in the Russia-India-China format, New Delhi, December 11, 2017

Friday, 15 December 2017 06:40

Question: The Palestinians have said they no longer accept the United States as a peace mediator and are looking for other intermediaries. What are the chances of Russia taking over the leading role in a Palestinian-Israeli settlement?

Sergey Lavrov: First, we never pretended to be able to settle the Palestinian-Israeli problem unassisted. We have always worked on this issue within a group, that is, the quartet of international intermediaries, which enjoys international support and includes Russia, the United States, the UN and the EU. Regrettably, the US side regularly made statements under the previous and current administrations that it alone will settle the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Unilateral leadership is not what we want in this case. We are focused on results rather than propaganda scores. I believe that no country alone is capable of settling this problem.

I have seen the recent Arab League statement on this issue. The Arab leaders have expressed hope that this US decision will be revised and have reaffirmed the previously coordinated principles, including on the status of Jerusalem in the context of a broader solution regarding the status of the future Palestinian state. We are committed to these principles.

Question: A White House official has said the Palestinians are walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region by refusing to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence. Does this mean the deal of the century has fallen through?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not know if the deal of the century has fallen through or not because nobody has seen it anyway. It has been announced, but somewhat unclearly. We do not know its essence. As for walking away from a peace deal, this is for public consumption. It would be better to avoid unnecessary polemics over this delicate issue. But meetings must be held, of course. We believe that all sides, including the most serious adversaries, should hold talks.

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