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Sergey Lavrov: It is necessary to normalize the situation in Jerusalem

Russia advocates the need to normalize the situation in Jerusalem and to ensure equal access to holy sites, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his talks with a delegation of the Ministerial Contact Group on Palestine and East Jerusalem of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“Yesterday and today we held talks with the delegation of the Ministerial Contact Group on Palestine and East Jerusalem of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Russia is consistently developing dialogue with OIC. Since 2005, our country has had an observer status in this high-profile Organization. We are interested in expanding cooperation and strengthening friendly ties with our partners in the Islamic world,” Lavrov said.

“Today’s meeting was held against the background of a deteriorating situation on the Palestinian track of the Middle East peace process and in Palestinian territories,” Lavrov said.

He said that Russia and the OIC reiterated their principled position regarding the need to find a comprehensive and fair solution to the Palestinian issue within the existing international legal framework.

“We support the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish an independent, viable and integral Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem, which would live in peace and security with all its neighbors. At the end of the talks we also expressed a shared vision of the need to normalize the situation in Jerusalem immediately. Issues related to this city should be addressed during direct Palestinian-Israeli final status negotiations,” the Russian FM said.

Secretary General of the OIC Iyad Amin Madani said that Russia has a special role to play in this respect.

“Russia is a major world power, a member of the Middle East Quartet and permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Moscow maintains close ties with Israel and its diplomacy takes into account moral aspects which is a very important factor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Madani said.

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