Russia proposes Security Council mission to Middle East

09:19, February 09, 2011      

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Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin on Tuesday said that his country is putting forward a proposal for the UN Security Council to dispatch a mission to the Middle East for the first time since 1979.

Under the initiative of the Russian Federation, the Security Council will undergo consultations in order to formally approve sending a mission to the region.

"There has been no mission of the Security Council to the Middle East since 1979 and we think that this is not right," he said.

"We are making this proposal now because we are concerned about the situation in the Middle East, as we all know the efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian talks are at impasse and the situation in the region is quite fragile and is fraught of further complications."

The 15 envoys should visit Gaza, Israel, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon, Churkin said.

The Russian ambassador said that the Council members were discussing details of a possible Middle East tour, but no agreement was reached on the date.

The Security Council, under the UN Charter, has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Earlier on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters here that the Middle East Quartet will meet in mid-March on how to revive the peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Russia is part of the Quartet, which also groups the United Nations, the European Union and the United States in seeking the two-state solution to the Middle East crisis -- a secure Israel to live in peace with an independent Palestine State.

The Quartet met last week in Munich, Germany, on the sidelines of a security conference in a bid to break the current impasse between Israel and the Palestinians and revive bilateral talks. "Further delay in the resumption of negotiations is detrimental to prospects for regional peace and security," the statement of the Quartet said after its meeting in Munich.

The Quartet called on relevant parties to take urgent efforts to speed up Israeli-Palestinian and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, which is imperative to avoiding outcomes detrimental to the region.

Israel has decided not to renew a 10-month moratorium on construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, leading the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to stall just weeks after they had restarted in September.

Source: Xinhua
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