Moscow welcomes the beginning of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Bethlehem, calling it "the first visible result of a resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue," says a statement by Boris Malakhov, deputy spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry which RIA Novosti received on Tuesday.
The withdrawal of Israeli troops from Bethlehem on the West bank of the Jordan River began on the night to August 20 as part of a stage-by-stage plan for the normalization of the situation on Palestinian territories.
The statement by the deputy spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry points out that in connection with that fact Moscow expresses hope that "the Israeli government and the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority will be able to consolidate and develop the attained success and prevent extremists from torpedoing the efforts to defuse the crisis."
The document also expresses the hope that "with a view to stabilizing the situation, further practical steps will be taken providing, in particular, for Israel's withdrawal from districts of the Palestinian National Authority, discontinuing acts of terrorism by Palestinian fanatics, levelling out the social, economic and humanitarian situation on Palestinian territories, development of the process of Palestinian reforms and resumption of political negotiations." Apart from that, Russia is also "satisfied by the results of the first stage of the activity in the region of the Palestinian reform task group." In our opinion, the conference held in Paris on August 22-23 is called upon to facilitate the consolidation of efforts in carrying out the Palestinian reforms," says the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesman.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969