Middle East peace process can only be resumed after end of Israeli occupation

The Middle East peace process can only be resumed after Israel ends the occupation and withdraws its troops to the borders of 1967, said Egypt's ambassador to Russia Reda Ahmed Shehata at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

To begin the process of political settlement it is necessary "to end aggressive punitive measures of the Israeli authorities and to stop bombardments", according to the ambassador. "Only then will we be able to discuss the peace settlement in the region," he stressed.

As to the creation of an independent Palestinian state, its political and economic bodies, this should be done only after the occupation is lifted, Shehata believes. "The principles voiced by Israel and some other parties are absolutely unfair both from the historic and from the human point of view," he added.

Shehata assessed the current state in the region as "dangerously explosive", stressing that the parties had come to a deadlock. "The right position for starting a settlement should be fulfilment of the UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, as well as more intensive work on fulfilling the Saudi initiative on Middle East settlement adopted by Arab leaders," he pointed out. It is also necessary to strengthen the role of the UN and international mediators in the peace process, the ambassador added.

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