Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that both Russia and the Arab League call for the cessation of any hostilities between Israel and Palestine, and a return to negotiations.
“We confirmed our position on the unacceptability of any violence, damage, and the death of civilians (regardless of what side they are on),” Lavrov said during talks with Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, in Moscow.
“The Arab League and the Russian Federation … have called for an immediate cessation of any hostilities … and a transition to negotiations,” the Foreign Ministry quoted Lavrov as saying.
He added that the two sides were deeply concerned about the hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians who have died as a result of the recent escalation, and the thousands who have been wounded.
Lavrov explained that after similar periods of escalation, the concerning sides had not taken necessary efforts that would have eliminated the main problems that have been undermining stability in the Middle East.
“There have been calls to immediately stop the bloodshed and sit down at the negotiating table, however there can only be one initiative, that is the implementation of the decisions on the settlement of the Palestinian problem that were adopted at the United Nations,” Lavrov said.
He reaffirmed Moscow’s commitment to a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Our common position is that this is the only initiative that can be ‘on the table’ and should become the subject of direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel,” Lavrov said.
Aboul-Gheit’s visit came after the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) launched a surprise attack on Israeli towns adjacent to the Gaza Strip on Saturday, which has so far resulted in the deaths of at least 700 Israelis, while the death toll from Israeli retaliatory attacks on the Gaza Strip has risen to 493, with around 2,751 wounded.