Moscow considers it impossible to endorse President Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan because it does not account for the interests of all parties involved, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview.
Commenting on his Tuesday telephone conversation with Avi Berkowitz, a senior advisor to Trump peace plan architect Jared Kushner, Bogdanov indicated that Berkowitz “called me and began to argue the need to push the ‘Deal of the Century’ forward. I told him that this was impossible, because [the US side knows] the position of the Palestinians, the position of all Arabs and the Arab League on this matter perfectly well.’”
The deputy foreign minister said he made “perfectly clear” to his American counterpart that Russia recognises a Palestinian within the borders that existed prior to 1967 and its capital, East Jerusalem. “Our position is unchanging and consistent”, he stressed.
Bogdanov also dismissed a report by Axios citing Western diplomats which suggested that Russia had offered to facilitate a meeting between the US and Palestinian Authority officials in Geneva in the coming weeks. “What summit? What Geneva? This is complete nonsense,” the Russian official said.
Bogdanov said he informed Berkowitz on the need to assemble the Middle East Quartet “to discuss the situation and to see how to get out of it.”
On Wednesday, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, indicated that Moscow was ready to hold a teleconference of the Middle East Quartet on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (consisting of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations) to help mediate the recent escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Nebenzya’s comments followed remarks by PA President Mahmoud Abbas this week indicating that the Palestinian side had terminated all of its agreements with Israel and the United States over Tel Aviv’s plans to “annex” Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
Israel’s new unity government revealed plans to “extend sovereignty” over as much as 30 percent of the West Bank as soon as July 1, in accordance with proposals outlined in President Trump’s Deal of the Century ‘peace plan’.
Trump’s Peace Plan
The Trump administration unveiled its long-awaited Deal of the Century peace plan in January, envisioning a two-state solution, including the recognition of Israeli claims to settler areas in the West Bank, the extension of Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. For the Palestinians, the plan offered $50 billion in infrastructure and investment assistance, and promised a few neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem for a Palestinian state capital. President Abbas rejected the proposal out of hand, saying Jerusalem was “not for sale” and that the plan itself belonged in the “garbage can of history”.