Russia backs the Palestinians' lawful aspirations, including their right to the creation of an independent state "co-existing in peace and security with Israel", Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti.
"Russia is prepared to continue, together with the Palestinian leaders, active efforts for achieving peace and stability in the region and further developing Russian-Palestinian ties," he noted.
In his words, Russian-Palestinian cooperation has markedly intensified of late. The sides' principled approaches are close or coincide. "I would like to note that they are represented most graphically in the joint Russian-Palestinian statement adopted following the result of the talks of PNA head Mahmoud Abbas in the Kremlin on January 31, 2005," he said.
The political dialog is extending and cultural, business and inter-regional contacts are being maintained, he noted. Quite a few Palestinians are studying in Russian higher schools. Many of them receive Russian state grants.
Asked about other directions of extending cooperation, the diplomat said that "the ways of further deepening foreign-policy cooperation, intensifying cultural, religious and interparliamentary exchanges, business partnership and implementing joint projects for the economic restoration of Palestinian territories are being examined". In his words, special attention is being paid to giving practical assistance to the PNA in effecting reforms, restoring order in Palestinian territories, forming a Palestinian state and solving vital social and economic problems.