Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 23 / Trend U. Sadikhova /
If Russia wants to hold a leading position in ensuring peace in the Middle East, Moscow should intensify efforts, head of the St. Petersburg Center for the Study of the Modern Middle East Gumer Isayev said.
"Russia must make efforts not to be an extra or a very important personage at the next stage of the Middle East settlement. The weakening U.S. position in the Middle East in recent years made it possible for Russia to become a much more influential force in the region and to become an alternative to the U.S.," Isayev told Trend .
Thee Russian analyst said recent talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Egyptian leadership, a major Arab mediator of the Arab-Israeli peace dialogue, testify to Russia's hope to play a leading role in ensuring peace in the Middle East.
The search for additional impetus in the peace process in the Middle East and the revival of the Middle Eastern quartet became the main topic of discussion at an international conference on the Middle East in Jordan.
Special Representative of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the region, Alexander Saltanov, thinks that the potential of the Quartet, including Russia, the U.S., UN and the EU has not yet exhausted. He pointed to the danger of negative impact on the current situation in the region, where the growth of radicalism is observed, Reuters reported.
Saltanov said he met several times with his U.S. counterpart George Mitchell, whose diplomatic efforts during the ten months have failed to unfreeze the peace process.
"Moscow maintains relationships with all parties of the conflict, both Israeli leaders and representatives of the Palestinians - Fatah and Hamas, Syria, Egypt, and Iran. Therefore it plays a special role in the region ", Isaev said.
Vigorous actions of Russia's diplomacy in relaunching the Middle East peace process are related to the fact that the Kremlin does not exclude the possibility of forcing Moscow out on the second plan by Obama administration, Russian historian said.
"Moscow should hurry, because after Obama took office, the U.S strategy in the Middle East has been revised. The U.S new president began to improve the corrupted image of the superpower. He began to conduct a policy of improving relations with Arab countries. The Kremlin realizes it, hence the vigorous actions are taken by Russia's diplomacy, Isayev said.
Though Moscow has such trumps as special relations with Syria and Hamas, the U.S. does not stand still. So, Russia should accelerate implementation of its plans and goals for the Middle East cease-fire, Isaev said.
Russian Academician Yevgeny Primakov, speaking at a conference in Jordan, also warned that the lack of a serious progress in the peace process in the Middle East is fraught with aggravation of crises, and new large-scale outbreaks of violence, RIA Novosti reported.
Primakov said the possibility of a new intifada, with a focus on the terror attacks does not meet anybody's interests, including Russia, and called on Middle East Quartet to define limits of solving major issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"It is necessary to take into account the experience of Annapolis and to prevent monopolization of the process again by one state and self-withdrawal of Middle East Quartet. It is necessary to create a mechanism to monitor the negotiations and implementation of reached agreements on the basis of the quartet. Such a mechanism must operate in its place to facilitate the negotiations," he said.
However, even if the Arab countries, disappointed in the position of the U.S. administration, welcome the revival of Russia in a regional cease-fire, then, today it is early to speak about the full support of the Arabs in Moscow instead of Washington, Isayev said.
Despite the hostility to the United States, most Arab countries, as well as Israel are closely linked with the Americans by trade and economic relations. They receive U.S. loans or assistance, Isayev said.
"For example, one of the key participants is Egypt, where Minister Lavrov was warmly received. Egypt is actively cooperating with the Americans. It is a long-standing and reliable partner of the United States. The same refers to Israel, whose relations with the U.S. are stronger than with Russia," he added.
Another important element in Russia's revival in the Middle East is establishment of Russia-Arab Forum. Its work will begin next year, Isayev said.
The document on functions of the forum was signed in Cairo by Lavrov and Secretary General of Arab League Amr Moussa.
Establishment of the Russian-Arab forum is a part of Russia's large-scale offensive on the Middle East. The appearance of another structure must expand realtions and intensify the Russian-Arab relations, Isayev said.
He said it is still too early to assess the activities of the Russian-Arab Forum whether it will be really effective or have a formal character.
"It greatly deals with Russia's striving to return positions in the Middle East lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union", Isaev said.