Russia: Kerry's speech doesn't help peace

Russia's Foreign Ministry wonders why Kerry didn't raise his concerns about Israel-PA peace until weeks before the end of his term.

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Elad Benari,

John Kerry
John Kerry
Reuters

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on the Middle East, saying it does not help achieve the goal of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"Unfortunately, we can only determine that narrow partisan interests are once again coming into play in Washington,” said a statement from Moscow quoted by the NRG Hebrew-language news website.

“There is no doubt that the introduction of the internal power struggles in Washington into the Middle East agenda will not help in achieving the highest goal of Israeli-Palestinian peace,” it added.

“It is a legitimate question, why, with less than a month until the end of the current administration’s term, it is now concerned with announcing its thoughts on the Middle East,” the Russian Foreign Ministry continued, adding, “Why were these concerns not reflected more in 2014 when negotiations initiated by Washington reached an impasse?"

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said several months ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive peace talks that have been stalled since 2014.

Several weeks ago, Russia said it was waiting for Israeli and PA proposals on holding a direct meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.

And earlier this week, Moscow reiterated that the only way to achieve a peace agreement is through direct negotiations.

Russia is not alone in its criticism of the Kerry speech. Earlier on Thursday, the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May issued an unprecedented rebuke towards Kerry over the speech.

"We do not... believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements, when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is so deeply complex," said a statement from May’s spokesperson. "And we do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically-elected government of an ally."