Medvedev reaffirms support for Palestinian state

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed on Tuesday Moscow's commitment to an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, on a visit to the West Bank.

"The Russian position on the Palestinian issue hasn't changed and remains the same," Medvedev said at a press conference with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank oasis town of Jericho.

"Russia stated its position on this issue in the 1980s, in the last century, and we fully support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to the establishment of an independent, united and viable state with east Jerusalem as its capital."

The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat first issued a declaration of independence at a meeting in Algiers in November 1988, with the former Soviet Union quick to express support for it shortly afterwards.

"I'm sure that with the establishment of a Palestinian state, everyone will win -- Palestinians and Israelis," Medvedev said on his first-ever visit to the Palestinian territories.

With the collapse of peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians have been talking up their options if peace talks with Israel totally collapse -- one of which is seeking recognition for a unilateral declaration of statehood.

Over the past two months, a handful of South American countries have formally recognised a Palestinian state inside the 1967 borders, and Abbas's government in Ramallah is determined to see that through to its logical conclusion in September this year.

The 1967 borders are the those that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip during that Middle East war of that year.

© 2011 AFP

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