Support for Moscow's Middle East peace summit grows, Russia says
( dpa ) - Russia said Monday it hopes to organize an international peace conference on the Middle East in Moscow this summer with the aim of achieving tangible results by year's end.
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on his last day as president of the UN Security Council that his government wants "concrete" progress in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.
"We are consulting, we are in touch with everybody, and we are well prepared," Churkin told reporters. "The timing has to be right. We have had strong support from some parties, strong support from the Arab countries so it might lead to the situation in which we are accumulating the momentum which needs to be there."
Churkin said the conference could take place in the summer in order to allow the parties to achieve results in the Middle East by the end of year.
Russia is part of the diplomatic quartet that has put together a road map with the ultimate goal of establishing a Palestinian state living in peace along side Israel. The other parties are the UN, the European Union and United States.
Churkin said his government has been disappointed that the Security Council had not been able to work out a resolution on the Middle East conflicts during March, when he held the council's presidency. But he said the gap of differences on the issue has "extremely narrowed" during discussion among council members and the council had not been able to speak in a united voice.
"Unfortunately, the gap, which is small, is still there," Churkin said of closed-door discussions on last month's fighting in the Gaza Strip. Council members disagreed whether rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza were a terrorist act. Arab countries said the rocket firings were legitimate, but Western governments disagreed.