Bethlehem – Ma’an – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Tuesday that 50 troop carriers would soon be delivered to the Palestinian Authority.
“Moscow provided them [the carriers] a few years ago but Israel refused to hand them over,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters in Ramallah.
“We have already sent the carriers. The vehicles arrived in Jordan and we hope they will arrive [in the West Bank] in the next few days,” the foreign minister added.
Lavrov said Moscow approved of “all efforts” aimed at leading ongoing US-brokered proximity talks into direct negotiations, which were derailed in 2008 as Israel launched its devastating war on Gaza. Palestinian unity will help talks become successful, he added.
Concerning Israel’s blockade of Gaza, Lavrov said Russia was “waiting for actions and not words” from Israel, reiterating Moscow’s stance toward ending the siege.
The Russian foreign minister also met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday who told Lavrov that there “absolutely no chance of reaching a Palestinian state before the year 2012,” Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
Lieberman reportedly told Lavrov, who arrived in Israel on an official visit, that Israel opposed Russia’s recent advances toward Hamas. Lavrov responded that it was impossible to ignore the Islamist organization’s popularity amongst Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, Haaretz reported.