Russian minister welcomes Palestinian unity pledge
July 03 2020 11:55 PM
Palestinian demonstrators gather in front of Israeli forces during a protest against the plan to ann
Palestinian demonstrators gather in front of Israeli forces during a protest against the plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in Asira ash-Shamaliya near Nablus, yesterday.

AFP /Moscow

Russia welcomed yesterday a pledge of unity between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas against Israel’s West Bank annexation plans.
In a rare joint press conference on Thursday, the factions pledged a united campaign against Israel’s prospective plans to annex territory in the occupied West Bank.
“We noted with satisfaction the joint press conference held yesterday by representatives of Fatah and Hamas during which a decision was announced to jointly defend the interests of the Palestinian government based on the platform of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation,” said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Speaking at a meeting with a top Libyan official, Lavrov added that the “restoration of Palestinian unity” was “one of the key questions that needs to be resolved.” 
He said Moscow was counting on “all Arab representatives to actively support this trend.”
Lavrov spoke at a meeting in Moscow with Aguila Saleh, speaker of Libya’s elected parliament based in the country’s east.
Fatah controls the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, and Hamas runs the Gaza Strip.
The joint press conference was spurred by their common opposition to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan.
The plan paves the way for Israel to annex roughly 30% of the occupied West Bank, including Jewish settlements in the territory considered illegal under international law. In a formal counter-proposal presented to the international peacemaking Quartet including Russia, the Palestinian leadership said they are prepared to renew long-stalled peace talks with Israel and to agree to “minor” territorial concessions.
Lavrov stressed the need to “immediately renew, relaunch direct Israeli-Palestinians talks under the aegis of the quartet of international peace brokers and with the active participation of Arab states.”  
Russia has close ties both with Israel and the Palestinians and has said it is ready to host direct talks between the two sides to resolve the differences.

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