MOSCOW, Russia — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday said Moscow “understands” the anger of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who earlier denounced White House peace efforts as the “slap of the century.”
“We completely understand the emotions the Palestinians currently have. For years they made concessions without receiving anything in return,” Lavrov said at an annual press conference in Moscow.
“We constantly hear that the US is about to unveil an important deal (on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) that would satisfy all sides. We have not seen this kind of document,” Lavrov added.
Palestinian leaders on Monday held a meeting called after US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinians want the city as the capital of their future state and Abbas has said Trump’s stance means the US can no longer be the mediator in peace talks with Israel.
In December, Abbas sent delegations to China and Russia to ask them to take on a greater role in the peace process with Israel.
Lavrov said Russia welcomed the Palestinians because “they were ready for direct talks with the Israelis without preconditions.” The Palestinians have rejected numerous calls by Israeli leaders to reenter peace talks without preconditions.
Moscow’s chief diplomat added that the chances of direct contact between the two sides are “unfortunately approaching zero.”
Lavrov went on to say “the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the most serious factors that allows radicals to recruit newer and newer generations of terrorists.”
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since they collapsed in 2014.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.