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ICP ask Lavrov of P5+1, Cautiously Optimistic, & Palestine, Quartet Dormant

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 26 -- When Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a press conference for more than an hour at the UN on September 26, most of the questions focused on Syria and Ukraine. When Inner City Press was called on, it thanked Lavrov on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, then asked about Gaza and the P5+1 on Iran.

  Lavrov replied on the Iran nuclear program talks, “I remain cautiously optimistic. If we look at the drafting process of the text, we're very close to our goal but there are sections remaining. The devil is in the details..We still have time until Nov 24, the dealine for the negotiating teams and we'll do our best to ensure that remaining issues are resolved.”

  On Palestine and Israel, Inner City Press asked about the dormant Quartet and the impact of the lack of resolution. Lavrov replied that “on Palestine, I'm convinced that the fact it's been unresolved for many years is one of the key factors that helps extremists recruit... Young people are very responsive, we all know how they recruit newcomers.”

  Lavrov said that “Quartet was a very useful format.” He said that in addition to the UN, European Union, US and Russia the Quartet should bring on board the League of Arab States. He said that “the usual routine was for Quartet after adoption of statement to invite representatives of the League of Arab States waiting at the door and read the statement to them. That is impolite...The League of Arab States should be a party to the process.”

  The Quartet hasn't met in 12 months. Lavrov said, “this initiative in my view remains key to implementing decisions taken by the UN and other relevant instruments. Quartet hasn't been convened for over 12 months now, a long time. The parties agreed to work with mediation of the US, asked for 9 months time to try and achieve results. Unfortunately they failed. Then we tried to put the flames out in Gaza...we managed to advance in rebuilding unity between Fatah and Hamas.”

  During this UN General Debate, Lavrov said, “we wanted to convene a Quartet meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA this week...they decided not to. We'll continue working, not necessarily in the format of the Quartet. If someone is not happy with the format any longer, okay.”

  We'll have more on this -- later today Iranian President Rouhani holds a press conference. Watch this site.


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