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We stand ready for the mediation & have capacities for it, says Russia, blames US for war

By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 14, Oct 2023, 20:08 pm IST | UPDATED: 14, Oct 2023, 20:08 pm IST

We stand ready for the mediation & have capacities for it, says Russia, blames US for war
New York: Making Russia’s position clear following UNSC consultations on the Middle East, Permanent Representative of Russia Vassily Nebenzia said, ‘The region is on the brink of a full-scale war and unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.  

‘We unequivocally condemn the acts of extreme brutality, killings and the horrifying scale of violence. Any killings and violence against peaceful civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian citizens, is inadmissible.

As per Russian sources she said, ‘However, there are two inseparable dimensions of the unfolding tragedy, and we can’t highlight one and ignore the other. Indiscriminate shellings of residential areas in Gaza, cutting this territory from water and electricity, its blockade which brings to our minds in particular the memories of the siege of Leningrad during the Second World War are also unacceptable. There are human lives that matter most. Israel’s actions of collective punishment of Gaza citizens as well as its demands to evacuate more than 1 mln civilians in 24 hours and concentrate them in a de-facto ghetto in the south of the sector are also unacceptable and can lead to irreversible catastrophic consequences, regionally and globally.

Hitting at the US, Nebenzia said, ‘The root-causes of this situation are of critical importance. Our Western colleagues do their best to promote the narrative that the current escalation happened “out of the blue” because a “band of savage terrorists” attacked Israeli civilians. The US is especially insistent that the whole situation was unprovoked and Hamas are outcalls enjoying no support. If it were so, there would be no protests in the West Bank against Israel's actions and no widespread Arab and Muslim support for Palestine.

She emphasised that the current flare-up of violence happens against the background of Israel's systematic violations of the decisions of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, including the illegal expansion of settlements which is regularly condemned by the vast majority of UN Member-States. ‘We all are appalled by the fact that the Palestinians are being forcefully ousted from their land, and their houses – demolished. Any attempt to ignore this context is a clear manipulation of facts which we can’t support.’

Holding the US responsible for the war the Permanent Rep said, ‘The responsibility for the looming war in the Middle East to a large extent lies on the United States. It is Washington that recklessly and selfishly blocked the work of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators in an effort to monopolize the peace process and limit it to imposing an economic peace with Israel on the Palestinians and other Arab countries without solving the Palestinian question. We constantly warned against this saying it will backfire one day, so it did. You all know well that for years the US blocked any reaction, any signal from the UN Security Council, any modest call for exercising restraint, claiming that its “quiet regional diplomacy” is more effective. Well, now it is obvious that it has failed.’

Talking about UNSC’s role she said, ‘In the current circumstances Russia cannot accept the complete inaction and lack of any reaction on the part of the UNSC, as well as the UN Secretariat. As you could have noticed, not a single Western delegation called for an open meeting on the situation in the Middle East, while they use every fake pretext to call for the discussions of the situation in Ukraine, for obvious political reasons. They are insisting to hold 3 monthly meetings on Syria to show that the Council is allegedly still preoccupied with this issue and to attack Syrian Government but they don’t find courage to call for a meeting on the situation which is directly affecting international peace and security and has dire immense humanitarian consequences.

Blaming Western countries of double standards, Nebenzia said, ‘Against this background, our former Western partners are not hesitating to apply blatant double standards. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, openly declares that the EU "stands with Israel", while turning a blind eye to the Israeli air force attacks on civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. When Ms. von der Leyen commented on the situation around Mariupol in the past, which was not in any way similar to the one in Gaza, she said that "attacks against civilian infrastructure, especially electricity, are war crimes" and "cutting off men, women, children of water and electricity … are acts of pure terror". There are more examples of the same double standards and irresponsible behavior of other Western politicians.’

On a question on what does Russia propose for the Council, she said, ‘We call for an immediate ceasefire and the prevention of further escalation of the conflict. We are convinced that the Security Council must act to put an end to the bloodshed and restart peace negotiations with a view to establishing a Palestinian State as it was supposed to do so long ago. To this end, we are circulating a draft resolution of the UN Security Council which calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected humanitarian ceasefire and for an unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance, as well as condemns all violence and all acts of terrorism. This draft is open for co sponsorship of all UN Member-States.’

She informed that there was a meeting of the CIS Foreign Ministers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where they adopted a joint statement in that vein which was circulated as a document of the Security Council. She asked member countries to support the draft.

On Russia’s position she said, ‘We maintain contacts with the two sides. We have long-established historical ties with Palestine as well as with Israel.’

‘At the same time, we have very solid, well-established, close relations with the Arab world, first of all, with Palestine, which had been promised and mandated by the UN decisions a sovereign statehood with the capital in East Jerusalem. These decisions have been taken by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, and they must be implemented, she said.  

We stand ready for the mediation and we have capacities for it, provided both sides are interested in it.
On the release of hostages if they would ask for a mass release, she said, ‘There is a clause on the release of hostages.’

On the draft resolution not mentioning Hamas, she said, ‘This is a humanitarian resolution. This is not about condemnation. Condemnation of terrorism is there in the resolution, but the focus of the resolution is humanitarian and not political.’
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