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Guterres and Putin Confer on Israel-Palestine and Syria

May 14, 2021 (EIRNS)—United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in Moscow on a working visit, met by video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin May 13 to discuss the Palestine-Israel escalation, and also Syria, among other situations. Afterward, Guterres told students at MGIMO University, where he received an honorary doctorate, “We are working hard—as well as several other actors—to see if there is a cessation of hostilities, if this dramatic situation ends. It is a factor undermining not only the society there, but it can be a risk to promote extremism in other parts of the world,” reported TASS.

The Kremlin reports that Putin and Guterres also discussed intensifying efforts on facilitating the return of Syrian refugees and the recovery of the Syrian economy, hampered by U.S. sanctions. The Presidential website reported of their discussion:

“Considering the humanitarian situation in Syria, the parties expressed concern over the tightening of unilateral sanctions against the legitimate authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic. They agreed to intensify the coordinated efforts between Russia and UN agencies in facilitating the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, providing humanitarian aid, and restoring the country’s economy and social infrastructure. Other priorities include the advancement of the intra-Syrian constitutional process.”

On May 12, Guterres met in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Guterres emphasized that he stands ready for the re-activation of the Quartet to aid in ceasefire and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet involves the UN, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union. And in their press conference, Lavrov replied to the first question, in part, that the UN Security Council has called many times for not making steps toward unilateral actions. “Today, I think we have reached a common denominator that the most pressing issue is to convene the international mediators quartet—Russia, the U.S., the EU, and the UN. We wholly trust in the UN Secretary General that he would organize such a meeting at the earliest opportunity,” and that such a meeting should take place at the level of foreign ministers.”

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UN Security Council To Meet May 16 on Israel Palestine; Where Is Biden?

May 14, 2021 (EIRNS)—The United Nations Security Council will finally hold a meeting on May 16 to discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestine after apparent U.S. opposition has been overcome. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, confirming yesterday that there would be a UNSC meeting, commented only that, “The U.S. will continue to actively engage in diplomacy at the highest levels to try to de-escalate tensions.”

Nothing has been heard from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr who was dispatched to the region by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. There has been nothing useful to “de-escalate tensions” by President Joe Biden. Israel is not known for responding to UN Security Council resolutions, but does respond when the United States puts on the necessary pressure.

Unfortunately the effort by Egyptian mediators failed to arrange a ceasefire, after visits to Gaza and Tel Aviv. The delegation has departed the region, with no success. TASS, citing an unnamed Egyptian official, quoted him saying that, “so far, it seems that this initiative has no prospects. At first, we discussed three hours of a humanitarian ceasefire, then six, but it was all left without a response.” The official further stated: “The Palestinian resistance demands that Israel halt aggressive action in East Jerusalem. For its part, Israel is simply refusing to respond to initiatives and to calls for a ceasefire. Thus, the Egyptian delegation was forced to leave Tel Aviv.”

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