News / Europe

Russia Urges Nations to Take Active Role in Middle East

Dorian Jones

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on Wednesday urged the all nations to actively work on helping bring peace to the Middle East.  The Russian president made the appeal during a two-day visit to Turkey, where the leaders of both countries agreed to expand cooperation.  

President Medvedev called for greater involvement in the Middle East peace process during a press conference in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul.

Mr. Medvedev said the urgency of the peace process is heightened by the deteriorating situation in Gaza.

"Gaza has worsened, it's close to a humanitarian catastrophe," he said.  He added that the international community "must do everything to try, if it's not possible to solve the existing problems, then at least make it possible for each state that feels its responsibility for the development of events in the region, to work on these problems more effectively."

Washington recently launched U.S.-mediated peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but signs of trouble already have emerged.  On Monday, Israel said it does not intend to end construction of Jewish housing in east Jerusalem.  The Palestinians accused Israel of undermining trust and urged President Barack Obama to intervene.

After meeting with the Russian leader, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said their two countries have similar foreign policy goals in the region - a hint that Moscow is becoming a more active mediator in the region, much like Turkey has in recent years.

"We were pleased to note common vision on regional and international issues," Mr. Gul said.  "We have agreed to work together to solve regional problems through dialogue."  The Turkish president said he gives "high importance to cooperation with Russia at the United Nations Security Council," and cited the example of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Medvedev said Iran must adopt a constructive approach as the United States and its allies push for new U.N. sanctions against Tehran, in response to its nuclear program.  Iran maintains that its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Turkey and Russia agreed Wednesday on a $20 billion project in which Moscow will build and own a controlling stake in Turkey's first nuclear power plant, as the two Cold War-era rivals try to build a strategic partnership.

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