Russia welcomes Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire

By Monitoring Desk
Saturday – May 22, 2021
MOSCOW (Russia): Russian foreign office (FO) spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, on Friday, that Moscow is deeply satisfied to note that the ceasefire in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict entered into force at 2 am on May 21.

According to a press release, she was addressing a scheduled press conference in the Russian capital city.

Russian FO spokesperson Zakharova said: from the first minutes of the 10-day crisis, Russian diplomacy got involved in energetic work aiming to stop the hostilities as soon as possible.

The concerned parties held intensive contacts, including top-level contacts.

Russian foreign minister (FM) Sergey Lavrov communicated with key regional partners.

We are also actively involved in the Middle East quartet of international mediators for the regional peace settlement.

The relevant efforts made it possible to stop the bloody conflict that has claimed the lives of 230 Palestinians, including 52 children, and 12 Israeli citizens.

We are offering our condolences to all families of the deceased and wounded.

We would like to specially note the mediation mission of leaders of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The United Nations (UN), including special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Tor Wennesland, made an important contribution to end the war.

An important, although insufficient, step has been taken to avoid a further escalation of violence.

At this stage, we should focus international and regional efforts on creating the appropriate conditions for resuming direct political talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians in order to resolve a range of fundamental matters regarding final-status issues on the basis of UN resolutions and the principle of two states, Palestine and Israel, that will coexist in peace and security within the 1967 borders.

This must be done to prevent another round of armed confrontation.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and a member of the quartet, Russia urges its partners to continue energetic collective work to resume direct, constructive Palestinian-Israeli dialogue.

The achievement of a lasting and just solution to the Palestinian problem is the main pre-requisite for comprehensive stabilisation in the entire Middle-East.

Regrettably, military tension is on the rise in Afghanistan as the United States (US) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) pullout gets into a high gear.

Announced last week, a short Eid al-Fitr ceasefire failed to influence in any significant way the overall trend towards an escalation of violence.

Active warfare is being conducted in the majority of the country’s provinces.

We see as indicative the recent seizure of Narkh District, Maidan Wardak Province, which is located a mere 50 kilometres away from Kabul.

A high level of terrorist activity in Afghanistan is also a matter for concern.

Every day, terrorist attacks killing dozens of civilians are registered in the capital and other cities.

Daesh and other terrorist groups are using the armed conflict to strengthen their positions and to intensify violence, including in northern Afghanistan that adjoins Central Asia.

In this connection, we call on the opposing Afghan sides to reduce the level of combat activity in the interests of their country’s prosperity and the future of its statehood and to use the time remaining until the full withdrawal of foreign troops to start talks on the key issues of national reconciliation.

On May 14, the US department of homeland security issued a new national terrorism advisory system (NTAS) bulletin on the current threat environment across the US, which mentions the heightened threat posed by domestic terrorists based on religious and ethnic grievances, racial superiority and militant nationalism.

There is nothing new in this expert assessment, especially in the context of the ongoing social and racial conflicts in the US.

However, the compilers of the report not only mention new trends in the proliferation of the terrorist ideology, but are also focusing, with misplaced enthusiasm, on “malign foreign influences.”

They accuse Russia, China and Iran of “increased efforts to sow discord” in the US and of amplifying conspiracy theories and calls for violence, including in the context of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

While prioritising efforts against domestic violent extremist (DVE) risks, Washington continues to regard them from the traditional geopolitical viewpoint, taking special pride in the addition of the Russian imperial movement (RIM) non government organisation (NGO) to the national list of international terrorist organisations in April 2020.

Some experts, including American ones, were baffled by that decision of the US state department in light of the meagre information about the organisation and its international ties.

Nevertheless, the decision has been presented by the US authorities as “the first time in history the [state] department has designated a white supremacist terrorist group.”

The logical question here is how the Washington-declared resolve to combat the growing far-right extremism and racism ties in with its selective foreign policy focused on propaganda.

Last year, several American experts called for paying more attention to the serious threat of increasingly active neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine.

That country has been turned into a bridgehead for training radicals and proliferating neo-Nazi literature and symbols.

Persons directly involved in high-profile crimes, such as the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet, and far-right groups such as S-14 continue to act with impunity in Ukraine.

The Azov Civil Corps and National Corps continue to stage meetings of nationalists from the Baltics and other European countries, as well as the US and Canada.

These organisations maintain close ties with their foreign neo-Nazi peers, including the US Atomwaffen Division and the British National Action.

There is no reasonable explanation for the hasty US decision to designate the RIM as a terrorist organisation while refusing to do the same with regard to the notorious Ukrainian groups such as the Right Sector and the Azov Civil Corps.

At the same time, Washington and Kiev vote against the resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which Russia submits every year for approval by the UN General Assembly.

This is a regrettable but telling kind of solidarity.

According to international experts, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), for the second week in a row, the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) infection has been slowing down and the death rates have been falling.

As of May 20, 2021, the number of new cases has decreased by approximately 33 percent as compared to last week.

First of all, this relates to the countries with the highest rates of Covid-19 vaccination.

At the same time, in certain regions, especially in Asia and Latin America, the daily growth of new cases is still high.

India accounts for half of new global cases.

It is getting obvious that the process of immunisation of the world population in order to prevent the coronavirus is the most important aspect of the global community’s efforts: over 1.5 billion jabs have been given as of now.

The growing popularity of the Russian-made vaccine Sputnik V should not go unmentioned.

We share the WHO’s concern about the disproportionate distribution of immune response modifiers and support WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus’s call to share coronavirus vaccines.

Our country has done everything in its power in this area and will commit itself to the cause. We believe that under no circumstances can this issue be subject to politicisation.

An entire range of “resort countries” are currently lifting the pandemic restrictions.

Just before summer, despite the unsteady positive epidemiological trend, they are rushing to open their borders to support their tourism industry, and they assure their partners that increased epidemiological measures are in place at resorts, airports and hotels.

While understanding the desire of these countries’ governments to restore international tourism, we must note that the situation with Covid-19 remains volatile, including due to the spread of new variants of the virus.

It could prompt emergency restrictions, including the suspension of international travel. There are many examples of that.

The case of foreign tourists, including Russians, who got stranded in Nepal, makes us seriously consider the risks of travelling outside Russia.

Therefore, we would like to urge our citizens to weigh the pros and cons before they decide to travel abroad. This is crucially important.