Russia and the US believe that in the Middle East there is "an opportunity to move away from the current unacceptable situation of terror and violence towards a resumption of meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians", Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush said in a joint statement on the Middle East situation adopted on Friday.
Moscow and Washington, it is noted in the document, are agreed that they have "to move aggressively" to help the parties to the conflict to take advantage of this opportunity.
"In the Middle East, neither conflict nor peace is inevitable. Peace will not come to the Middle East on its own. We must do all we can for the attainment of peace," the presidents said.
Russia and the US pledge their maximum efforts to settle the conflict through negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the document notes. "This should become part of a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, the Madrid principles, and the principle of land for peace," the statement says.
The Russian and US presidents reaffirmed their unequivocal condemnation of all terrorist acts, considering terrorism and any form of violence an absolutely unacceptable means for achieving political goals. "At the same time, recognising the legitimate right of Israel to fight terrorism, we urge the Israelis and Palestinians to consider carefully the consequences of any actions they may take and to work to create and sustain an environment in which the parties can return to a serious political dialogue," the document stresses.
Russia and the US are encouraged by several recent signals that have created a window of opportunity. Among them are the peaceful resolution of the standoffs in Ramallah and Bethlehem, the recent Israeli withdrawals from Palestinian areas, and the Arab League's endorsement of the Saudi Arabia crown prince's initiative.
Russia and the US also said they are prepared to provide humanitarian and economic assistance to the Palestinians at this time of urgent need. "We are also prepared to assist in the reconstruction of Palestinian institutions, including those of the Palestinian Authority, in order to lay the foundation of a future Palestinian state worthy of the Palestinian people and able to live as a good neighbour in peace with Israel," the presidents noted.
Besides, the document says that Moscow and Washington are committed to using "an international meeting this summer to create serious momentum to move forward on our comprehensive strategy for peace in the Middle East".
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