Russia ready to help end Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Putin tells Netanyahu

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Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Monday that Russia was ready to help end the confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians, the Kremlin said.

“Vladimir Putin informed (Netanyahu) about the steps Russia is taking to help normalize the situation, prevent further escalation of violence and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip,” the Kremlin said.

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Earlier on Monday Putin discussed the crisis with the leaders of Iran, Egypt, Syria and the Palestinian Authority and said any form of violence against civilians was unacceptable, the Kremlin said.

Putin entered the fevered diplomatic fray of the Middle East on Monday, speaking to five of the major players including Iran and leading Arab powers in an attempt to secure a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Russia, which has relationships with Iran, Hamas, major Arab powers as well as with the Palestinians and with Israel, has repeatedly said the United States and the West have ignored the need for an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders.

Putin spoke to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by telephone, the Kremlin said. He also plans to speak to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it said earlier on Monday.

“We believe that the main thing right now in this situation is to immediately cease the fire and begin the process of a political settlement,” Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov was quoted by state news outlets as saying.

Putin, who says the West is seeking to cleave Russia apart by supporting Ukraine, says the current violence in the Middle East shows just how far US policy in the region has failed.

But Russia has also repeatedly warned that the situation could swiftly escalate into a regional war.

Russia and China, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, have said that the fundamental issue at the heart of the conflict is the lack of justice for the Palestinians.

With Reuters

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