Tue, Jan 18, 2011 | CNN | Jerusalem Post
Medvedev makes ‘historic’ visit to ‘Disputed Territories’
The Russian Federation’s President Dmitry Medvedev visited the ‘disputed territories’ on a “historic” trip as part of his Middle East tour, CNN reported on Tuesday.
The goal of the trip is to “intensify international efforts to stabilize the situation and achieve peace in the region,” Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko told Russian media ahead of the visit.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas greeted the Russian president in Jericho in the West Bank, where the two held a joint press conference.
Medvedev told reporters the visit is “very important … this visit will hold deep historic meaning. This is the first visit of a Russian Federation president to the region and to the Palestinian territories that is not connected to a visit to a neighboring country.” Medvedev initially planned to visit Israel as well, but that part of the trip was canceled because of the ongoing strike (since mid-December) by Israeli Foreign Ministry employees.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called Medvedev’s trip a “historic state visit,” adding that “the message to the world is that the Palestinians are ready for statehood and independence.”
“Dmitry Medvedev will discuss with the Palestinian side the Middle East settlement, the situation in the region, the prospect of calling a peace conference on the Middle East in Russia, the situation around the Gaza Strip, the restoration of Palestinian unity, to which we traditionally pay much attention,” Prikhodko said, according to the state-run Itar-Tass news agency.
“There are two options … either to choose negotiations and peace or violence and terrorism, and we will not choose violence and terrorism,” Abbas told reporters at the joint press conference. “We tell the Israelis to choose the path of peace for their own interest and the interest of their generation to come and to stop the settlements, to continue and return directly to the negotiations table to implement the road map and the Arab initiative and the United Nations resolutions.”
Read full report here.
Russian President Dimitry Medvedev said Russia will not change its stance towards Palestinian statehood during a visit with Palestinain Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.
Medvedev said the Soviet Union had recognized a Palestinian state in 1988 after Yasser Arafat declared independence.
The Russian president’s announcement came after reports Tuesday speculating that his country would join several South American countries who have declared their recognition of a Palestinian state.
During a press conference held with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho, Medvedev said “We made a decision then and we will not change it today.”
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