Russian foreign minister travels to Egypt and Jordan


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will start his visit to Egypt and Jordan on Sunday to discuss the Syrian crisis and the Arab-Israeli settlement.

“The minister will stay in Egypt on November 4-5 where he’s going to meet the country’s President Mohamed Morsi and Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. The visit will give us a chance to establish direct contacts with the new Egyptian leadership and discuss prospects of trade and economic relations,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

In Cairo, Lavrov will also meet LAS Secretary General Nabil El-Arabi. The forthcoming talks will focus on Syrian settlement. The problem is assuming new contours in view of the recent remarks by the United States that Washington has grown disappointed with the Syrian National Council and is exerting efforts to renew the opposition’s leadership. New candidates to the leadership of the Syrian opposition will be introduced at an international conference on Syria in Doha next week.

The Russian side believes that the Syrian opposition is too disunited to be able to send its delegates for talks with the Syrian authorities. Moscow insists that the terms of the Geneva Communique be observed. It cannot be ruled out that the sides will exchange view on Beijing’s new proposal on a “phased-in truce” in Syria.

After meetings in Egypt, Sergei Lavrov will head for Jordan. He will meet King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Naser Judeh on November 6. Lavrov will also meet PNA chief Mahmoud Abbas in Amman.

The Jordanian part of Lavrov’s visit will be focused on the Middle East settlement, including the Palestinian-Israeli track. Russia favors the earliest resumption of talks between Israel and Palestine. After a short lull, fighting has again erupted between militants from the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israel’s settlement activity is another serious problem. Some Western experts believe that prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli settlement are fading because of Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank of Jordan and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian problem continues to be a subject for discussion at the United Nations. The United Nations is expected to consider the question of granting the status of an “observer state” to Palestine instead of a “non-state entity” under which the PNA is referred to in all the U.N. documents in the first half of November. For that Palestine needs two thirds of votes of 193 countries members of the United Nations General Assembly whose support it already has.

The Palestinian problem has seriously aggravated in recent months. The ‘quartet’ of international brokers is also disunited. The ‘quartet” failed to agree on holding a ministerial meeting at the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.


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