Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said during a press conference on 21 December that a lasting peace settlement for the Arab-Israeli conflict will not be possible without US participation, but added that Washington won't be able to achieve it alone.
"It should be clear that even the US won't be able to negotiate a [peace] agreement alone and thus it's crucial to return to group formats, to a Middle East Quartet working in close cooperation with the Arab league", Lavrov said.
Lavrov recalled that the US administration has been working on a "deal of the century" since the beginning of Donald Trump's presidency, but so far has failed to present any of its details. He also slammed the tendency to look at all Middle East problems "through the prism of Iran", adding that such an approach is typical of the US and its allies. According to Lavrov such a tendency creates a potentially explosive situation within the Arab world between Shiites and Sunnis.
The Russian foreign minister also expressed concern about attempts to undermine the international legal basis for Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. He added that even obligatory decisions by the UN are being affected by these attempts.
The Palestinian Autonomy rejected US attempts to singlehandedly negotiate a peace agreement with Israel following Trump's decision in December 2017 to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and acknowledge the whole city to be Israel's capital. Trump's decision also escalated tensions between the Palestinian Autonomy and Israel and led to massive clashes on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip.
The Middle East Quartet was established in 2000 by representatives from the EU, US, Russia and the UN to facilitate cease fire talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Quartet was later turned into a permanent forum for negotiating a lasting peace solution.
Possible Meeting Between Palestinian and Israeli Leaders
Lavrov also reiterated Moscow's previous offers to host a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders to continue negotiating a lasting peace agreement. He noted that both sides have nothing against holding such a meeting.
"[President of Palestine Authority] Mahmoud Abbas announced on multiple occasions that he is ready for such a meeting without any preconditions. Israel does not refute the possibility of such a meeting, but it is not ready to negotiate a date", Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister suggested that a lack of unity among Palestinians could hinder attempts to hold such a meeting, while a unified position on the matter of peace between Palestinians and Israelis would only help in organising it.