Source Pravda.Ru

Moscow deems it early to scrap Sharon's plan

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov, the task facing the international Middle East quartet is to include Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan into the road map plan.

Mr. Saltanov is escorting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the meeting of the Middle East quartet (Russia, the US, the UN and the EU) due in New York on Tuesday.

"We should bring this plan in line with the road map plan, which is a harmonious document laying a real basis for practical efforts," said Mr. Saltanov.

He remarked that Russia was one of the initiators of this meeting, who had actively participated in its preparations. "We have repeatedly stated the need for such a meeting. The reason behind it was not only the aggravating situation in the Middle East but also the new plan forwarded by Mr. Sharon," said the diplomat.

According to him, the date for the meeting was chosen with due consideration for Sharon's Likud party referendum. It took place on Sunday, and the majority of the party members voted against the Israeli premier's initiative of pulling out Israeli settlements from Gaza.

"Despite the results of the voting, Sharon's plan can still come handy," said Mr. Saltanov. In his opinion, this initiative can be adjusted and used in the interests of the settlement. "This plan is contradictory but it has positive elements. Israel's withdrawal from Gaza does not run counter to the previous agreements and can only be considered as the first step," said the deputy minister.

Mr. Saltanov recalled that Sharon's plan had been negatively taken in Palestine and had not been universally supported by the quartet members. "Nobody can act with no consent from the other side, it contradicts the spirit of the road map," stressed Mr. Saltanov.

Sharon's plan was an attempt to complete the demarcation with no talks with the Palestinian side, which is inadmissible either, said the Russian diplomat.