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Medvedev calls for contacts with all sides of Middle East conflict

RIA Novosti

00:41 27/06/2010 HUNTSVILLE (CANADA), June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for cooperation with all sides of the Middle East conflict during his report to participants at the G8 summit in Canada, Medvedev's aide has said.

The Russian president has informed his colleagues from the G8 about Russia's negotiations with world leaders on the situation in the Middle East, Arkady Dvorkovich said on Saturday.

Answering the question on weather Russia's proposal includes negotiating with radical Islamic group Hamas controling the Gaza Strip, Dvorkovich said Medvedev was talking about the "need for contacts with all possible participants in this knot of contradictions - certain countries, organization, and leaders."

The participants in the summit agreed that Russia's initiative of holding a Middle East conference in Moscow could be implemented when indirect peace talks between Israel and Palestine yield results and when direct talks become possible, Dvorkovich said.

Russia, along with the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union, is a member of the Middle East Quartet mediating peace efforts in the region. The Quartet last met in Moscow in March.

Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks came to a halt in December 2008, when Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in a bid to put an end to the firing of homemade rockets at southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the enclave. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

Palestinians have so far cited ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as a main obstacle to resuming peace talks.

In March, the Arab League supported the U.S.-backed initiative of holding Israeli-Palestinian indirect talks. Israel, a major United States' ally in the Middle East, has also welcomed the talks.



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