The yesterday’s New York meeting of the Four on settling the Middle-East conflict has not become a sensation. The high negotiating sides one more time tried to work out a united position on the Middle East and they managed to do it, at least they state so, however Arafat spoiled everything. The question about Arafat’s political future was not included in the agenda, though…
Russian Foreign Ministry head, Igor Ivanov, while characterizing the passed statement, noticed that 90 percent of the document were offered by American side. According to him, the only position where the sides are not unite is the political future of Yasser Arafat. Igor Ivanov also noticed, that the international community would carry out the dialogue with Yasser Arafat as with a legally elected Palestinian leader.
The position of Moscow is shared by the European Union which was lately too often accused of financing Palestinian terrorism. Yesterday, this was directly said by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He was supported by George Bush who recently accused Arafat of corruption and some violations when receiving humanitarian aid. Javier Solana, irritated with such accusations, said at the press conference that no one of international assistance programmes functions as well as the Palestinian one. After such an answer, the Americans had nothing better to do than to admit their defeat. US Secretary of State Colin Powel finally pronounced the phrase which was expected by Russia and the European Union: “Arafat’s fate is the choice of Palestinian nation,” while noticing that the question of the Palestinian leader future had not been discussed at the meeting. Therefore, he seems to have hinted that there was no specific conversation on the subject and there will be no conversation at all, if Arafat of his own free will refuses from power.
Therefore, the victory seems to be on Russian side at the moment. Probably, after the President Putin meeting with Russian diplomats, Russian interests will be more resolutely defeated in the world arena.
As for other questions discussed by the Four (reforms of Palestinian administration, the coming election), Igor Ivanov said that “Russia will render assistance in carrying out election in Palestine in the measure it will be necessary.”
According to him, in Palestine, like in 1996, Russian observers will see to the election. Ivonov did not exclude that Russia would also render technical assistance in the election.
While answering to the question of RIA ‘Novosti’ about the spheres where Russia intends to render assistance in carrying out reforms in Palestine, Ivanov said that “this will depend on the course of the reforms.” Ivanov reminded that Russia participated in discussing the assistance in reforms from the international community, both on the level of ministries and experts. Moreover, on Wednesday, a special representative of Russian Foreign Ministry, Vdovin departed for the Middle East. The aim of this travel is to inform Palestinian and Israeli sides about the decisions passed by the four. The head of the Foreign Ministry also noticed that next days, special representatives of the US and the European Union would depart for the region.
Moscow precipitates the situation, it wants to fully use the yesterday’s victory over the United States. It is not bad to extort from the US the monopoly right to settlement of the conflict in the Middle East, all the more that there are all preconditions for it. While for the Bush administration best times came, so it hardly will strike an attitude as for Arafat. The propaganda weapon they use to discredit Arafat could one day be aimed against them.
For information: To the Four on the Middle East, Russia, the US, the EU, and UNO belong. The meeting in New York is already the third one of the kind. In the meeting participated: Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov, US Secretary of State Colin Powel, the head of Danish Foreign Ministry Per Stig Meller, UN Secretary-General and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/17/44307.html