Moscow is urging to hold a ministerial meeting of the Middle East Quartet (Russia, the US, the EU and the UN) as soon as possible, Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy said on Thursday speaking at a special session of the UN General Assembly on the recent escalation in Israel and Gaza.
"We want to step up activity of the Middle East Quartet. We propose an immediate ministerial meeting of the Quartet to de-escalate the situation and create an atmosphere of trust," he noted. "We also propose a ministerial meeting of the Quartet in expanded format with regional states to take into account opinions of invested parties," the diplomat added.
Polyanskiy emphasized that "political settlement of the existing differences has no alternatives." "The two sides need to accept responsibility and engage in dialogue. We no longer have the right to make mistakes," he concluded, TASS reports.
Moscow is calling to urgently launch a direct dialogue between Israel and Palestine, Polyanskiy said.
"We come from the premise that urgent measures are required to launch a direct dialogue between Israel and Palestine. It is in direct talks that the sides should work out solutions to fundamental issues of the final status, including the status of East Jerusalem," he stressed.
"However, the first step is undeniably stopping the violence, abandoning provocative rhetoric or any unilateral steps which are completely unacceptable in the current situation," he added.
Russia hopes that the ceasefire agreement reached by Israel and Palestine’s Hamas will be lasting, Polyanskiy said.
He underlined, "Russia like other countries have been and is making active efforts to achieve de-escalation." "Reports emerged a few hours ago that a ceasefire agreement had been seemingly achieved. Hopefully, it is a lasting one," he said.
Moreover, Moscow is urging the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and ensure religious rights and freedoms in Jerusalem. "Fire and bloodshed should be ceased immediately," the UN envoy noted. "We are calling on the parties to respect international humanitarian law and avoid civilian victims." "Rights of believers and their freedoms to pray in the cradle of three monotheistic religions should be ensured," he added.
Earlier, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the reports that a ceasefire had been reached with Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip. Several media outlets reported that the truce is set to enter into force on May 21 at 2 a.m.
The exchange of rocket fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which has been going on since May 10, was triggered by riots at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police erupted after an Israeli court had ruled to evict several Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and hand the property over to Jewish settlers. According to latest data, 232 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and at least 12 Israelis have been killed.