Moscow welcomes the approval of the new composition of the government of the Palestinian National Administration (PNA).
As it is stressed in the statement of spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander Yakovenko, received by RIA Novosti, this event "opens a qualitatively new stage both in the process of the democratic changes in the PNA and in the Palestinian-Israeli relations".
On Tuesday the Palestinian Legislative Council, which is the highest elective body of the PNA, approved the new composition of the PNA government headed by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
As Yakovenko stressed, "the establishment of the post of the Prime Minister and the approval of the Cabinet he heads remove the existing obstacles to putting into force the "road map" of Middle East settlement, worked out by the Four of international mediators, and which is a verified plan of advancement towards peace." According to the Foreign Ministry's spokesman, this document, which determines the starting point for Palestinian-Israeli talks, their framework, including the time limits, and the ultimate goal, "is called upon to become a practical guide to action for the Palestinians and the Israelis".
Yakovenko recalled that the "road map" "draws the way" to establishing within three years an independent sovereign Palestinian state, which will co-exist side by side with Israel in conditions of peace and security.
Presumably, the implementation of this programme of action can lead not only to a Palestinian-Israeli, but also to an all-embracing Arabo-Israeli settlement on the basis of the Madrid principles, the "land for peace" formula, resolutions 242, 338 and 1397 of the UN Security Council, the accords earlier reached by the sides, and the initiative of Saudi prince Abdalla approved by the Arab League summit in Beirut.
As Yakovenko stressed, "the approval of the Palestinian government, in effect, marked the beginning of the implementation of the first phase of the "road map". "Other large-scale tasks are now facing the sides", the spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry believes. Moscow holds the view that the Palestinians and the Israelis "must resume interaction in the sphere of security in order to put an end to violence, terrorism and instigation." Israel must also make all possible moves to help normalise the Palestinians' life, first of all withdraw its troops from the Palestinian territories re-occupied after September 28th, 2000.
"This will create conditions for holding national and municipal Palestinian elections, which are called upon to make for strengthening the democratic beginnings and for setting up new legitimate structures of the future Palestinian state," Yakovenko pointed out.
The spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Russia's allegiance to the obligations of the Four of international mediators on giving assistance to the implementation of the "road map", including assistance in direct contacts between the conflicting sides. As Yakovenko said, Moscow is prepared "for the closest coordination of actions with the Palestinians and the Israelis with a view to overcoming Palestinian-Israeli confrontation and advancing to an all-embracing Middle East settlement".
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