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    Palestinians carry a demonstrator injured during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians readied for protests over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem

    Moscow Concerned About Gaza Strip Escalation, Urges All Sides to Show Restraint

    © AFP 2018 / MAHMUD HAMS
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    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)

    The opening ceremony for the US Embassy in Jerusalem took place on Monday amid clashes on the Gaza Strip during which dozens of Palestinians were killed.

    Russia is concerned about the escalation of the situation in the Gaza Strip and calls on all parties to show restraint and refrain from steps that provoke tension, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

    "Moscow is extremely concerned about this dangerous escalation; we express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the Palestinians killed, wishes for a speedy recovery of the victims. While reaffirming the Palestinians' right to peaceful protests and condemning the use of military force against the civilian population, we again call on the parties involved to show restraint and to give up steps that provoke additional tension," she said at a briefing.

    READ MORE: How US Embassy Transfer Risks Driving a Wedge Between Israel, Arab World

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said that Russia's position on Jerusalem remains unchanged; Moscow advocates a two-state solution.

    At least 61 protesters have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

    In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the US embassy to be relocated there from Tel Aviv. The decision fueled unrest across the Middle East and has been condemned by other countries.

    Syria's Douma

    The report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma will be released in late May, Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

    "Samples and other physical evidence have been taken to the Hague for laboratory tests, which will take two-three weeks. We will be able to draw conclusions on the final results of the mission's work in the city of Douma no earlier than late May, when the report of the mission will be released," Zakharova told a briefing.

    Russia intends to seek a de-politicized investigation into reports of alleged chemical attacks in Syria, Maria Zakharova said at a briefing.

    According to her, Moscow expects that the outcome of the OPCW investigation into the alleged incident in Douma will be "thorough and verified from a professional point of view."

    According to Zakharova, Russia hopes that these conclusions "will help restore the real picture of what happened on April 7 in the city of Douma and confirm the inconsistency of any far-fetched and unproven claims against Damascus, which served as a pretext for illegal military action by the United States, UK and France, in gross violation of the UN Charter."

    READ MORE: US' False Claims About Douma Inquiry 'Part of Russia-Bashing Campaign' — Analyst

    Moscow considers that the caliphate of the Daesh* terrorist group, can be revitalized in Syria in case of US connivance, Maria Zakharova said.

    "In the light of President Trump's announcement of US troops rapid withdrawal from Syria, there are high risks of the caliphate revitalization along the Euphrates banks, like it was in Iraq, when after the rapid US withdrawal in 2011, the Daesh emerged," Zakharova said at a briefing.

    Zakharova stressed that Moscow took notice of the US administration's silence about the situation with several thousand foreign terrorists, who were detained by the US-led coalition and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria.

    According to Zakharova, the thesis about an alleged impossibility to coordinate the extradition procedure with the countries of militants' origin and the parameters of legal aid sounds very unconvincing.

    "It seems that this legal vacuum is created deliberately, it is designed to hide the true purpose, namely, to take the militants out of responsibility," the spokeswoman stressed.

    In late March, US President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw US troops from Syria very soon and let others take care of the country.

    North Korea Nuclear Test Site

    Moscow welcomes North Korea’s decision to dismantle the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and arrangements reached on the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Zakharova said.

    “We welcome the decision to hold on May 23-25 the ceremony of the dismantling of North Korean nuclear test site, where journalists from Russia and other countries have been invited, as well as the agreement on holding a meeting between the US president and North Korea's Chairman of the State Affairs Commission in Singapore on June 12. We expect that the above mentioned events will be successful and reinforce positive trends,” Zakharova told a briefing.

    Earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced the decommissioning of the Punggye-ri site during the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in late April, saying that Pyongyang's pursuit for nuclear weapons was complete so the test site was no longer needed.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)


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