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    A building can be seen in the Israeli settlement of Maale Edumim, in the occupied West Bank, in the background the Palestinian village of Azariya is seen on the edge of Jerusalem, December 24, 2016

    Palestine Maintaining Claim for Future Capital in West Jerusalem - Ambassador

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    Palestine maintains its position on the settlement of the Israel conflict and does not intend to give up its claim to be politically recognized as an independent state with a capital in West Jerusalem, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal told Sputnik Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The ambassador added that Russia was well aware of Palestine’s position on the issue.

    "We talk about the Palestinian State with the capital in West Jerusalem as well as the settlement of the refugees issue, implied by the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 without any deviations from its principles," Nofal said.

    Russia should play a bigger role in helping resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nofal added.

    "I think that Russia should play a more prominent role in the Palestinian issue. The Palestinian problem is more important and complex than the Syrian one, therefore its significance only increases further as US and Russian stances converge," Nofal said.

    The ambassador added that Russia and Palestine were about to reach new stage of economic cooperation, which will include the potential for boosting ties in a broad range of sectors.

    Nofal's comments come ahead of a visit by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to Russia, which is planned for May 11. Earlier in March, the ambassador told Sputnik that the main goal for the visit would be to discuss the results of the upcoming 28th session of the Arab summit in Jordan, coordination amid Israeli attempts to opt out of a two-state solution, and share views on the US position concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    The meeting is now also set to deal with bilateral issues, according to Nofal.

    "Of course, the meeting will deal with bilateral issues. We think there is potential for increasing broad and effective cooperation in various areas… We don't have many opportunities due to the occupation and external pressure, but we have good potential in pharmaceuticals and medicine, marble mining, agriculture and programming," he said.

    Over the decades, Palestinians have sought diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which includes the partially Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.

    The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, chosen by the international community as the basis for conflict resolution, stipulates the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state within the borders set prior to the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula.



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