The scandal connected with the visit of speaker of the Federation Council Sergey Mironov to the Middle East is gathering pace in Russia. The subject of the scandal is Mironov’s refusal to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
As PRAVDA.Ru reported yesterday, Sergey Mironov’s silly and short-sighted statements will cause serious damage to Russia’s foreign political image in the Arab world. The reaction was immediate.
Palestine reacted rather painfully to the cancellation of the meeting. Nevertheless, Palestine’s ambassador to Russia hopes that the fact will not affect Russia’s role in the regulation of the Middle East conflict. Khairi al-Oridi, Palestine’s ambassador to Russia said, “Mr. Mironov has taken the Israeli side. This is his personal opinion, and he is not expressing Russia’s official position on the subject. We will try to do something not to allow his words exert a negative influence either on our relations with Russia or on Russia’s role in the Middle East.”
Furthermore, Khairi al-Oridi stated that the ambassadors of the League of the Arab countries are going to have a special session on March 14th in order to discuss Sergey Mironov’s refusal to meet Yasser Arafat.
Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, is receiving a lot of attention from journalists at the momen, and he has been telling them for two days already that Russia’s position regarding the Middle East remained unchanged. Today, he was summoned to the Russian parliament.
Th deputies asked Igor Ivanov to comment on the Federation Council speaker’s decision. The foreign minister stated that “It is explicitly obvious that a state that is going to play a key role in international politics is supposed to speak in one voice.” Ivanov acknowledged that the discussion could be taking place on different levels within the country, but when it comes to the international scale, then “we must speak on the ground of our single position.” Ivanov believes that it would strengthen Russia’s position in the world. “If we speak in different voices, then it will not bring any good,” – said the foreign minister.
The Russian politicians also commented on the subject. “There is no choice for Russia either in the Middle East or in the Far East,” – a member of the Federation Council Ramazan Abdulatipov claimed. “There was a hope before Sergey Mironov’s visit to the Middle East that the visit will help to retrieve Russia's role of a co-sponsor of the peace process in the region, the role that we are supposed to play together with the USA. Protecting only one of the feuding parties, for example, Israel on the part of the US, has always been wrong, and it only worsens the conflict” – Abdulatipov believes. However, the biggest problem, as Ramazan Abdulatipov thinks, is different. Each step of a state official should be made to protect the interests of the state. In this case, such an unbalanced position only resulted in the fact that Russia would be presented negatively both at the coming session of the League of the Arab countries and at the sessions of the organization Islamic Conference.
Sergey Mironov himself was not expecting that his trip would have such a stormy reaction. Mironov even refused to inform his colleagues from the Federation Council on the process of his visit. Maybe he is afraid of blundering again.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov