It is necessary to send powerful multinational forces to the Middle East to disengage the sides of the conflict in the region, said Russian permanent representative in the UN Sergei Lavrov. He stressed that the initiative of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to send international peacekeeping forces to the Middle East acquires specific features and urgency. Lavrov pointed out that Annan's initiative proceeds from the premise that the Palestinians and Israelis have gone so far in their confrontation that they will not be able to go out of it independently. He also stated that calls have been heard ever often of late for this or that third side's interference Initially, observers were the point at issue, who could, by their presence, deter the sides from violence and check to what degree they are observing international human rights. But now Annan has told the UN Security Council members that this measure has been already regarded as insufficient and that to disengage the sides it is necessary to send powerful multinational forces to the region, Lavrov pointed out. According to him, such forces should be formed in compliance with the principle of an international coalition. They should should not be traditional blue helmets, but a kind of international contingents in Bosnia, Kosovo or Afghanistan, Lavrov stated. The creation of such a coalition should be, in compliance with the plan of Annan, sanctioned by the UN Security Council, and its task should be to disengage the sides, ensure security and non-resumption of violence in the zone of the conflict as well as create conditions for renewal of the political process. The Russian representative reported that Palestinians supported this initiative, while "the Israelis did not react to it, but it should be supposed that they are not ready to adopt it."
During a videoconference meeting with students on January 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin answered the question about the "palace," which, as Alexey Navalny claims, is being built especially for the president