Moscow's Middle East mediation bid: Lavrov meets Erekat

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Moscow's Middle East mediation bid: Lavrov meets Erekat

Moscow's Middle East mediation bid: Lavrov meets Erekat
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Moscow has said it’s ready to help the Middle East truce talks.

As the end of the latest Israel-Palestinian ceasefire looms, and as negotiations continue in Cairo, Chief Palestinian negotiator Dr Saeb Erekat met the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

The current ceasefire is due to end tonight (August 19) at 11 p.m. Central European Time.

“The situation in and around Gaza is very disturbing,” said Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. “We are undertaking efforts to support the initiative which Egypt has shown.”

“We, along with our brothers in Egypt, will undertake all possible efforts within the framework of the United Palestinian delegation, to achieve a truce and end the blockade of Gaza,” said chief Palestinian negotiator Dr Saeb Erekat.

Egyptian mediators have been shuttling between the sides in Cairo but serious differences remain.

Hamas is demanding an end to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza that has devastated the local economy.

Israel says it imposed the blockade seven years ago to prevent Palestinian militants bringing weapons into Gaza.

Israel wants Hamas to be disarmed.

As delegates in Cairo discuss details of a possible deal, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) troops were positioned near the border with Gaza poised for what Israeli prime minister Banjamin Netanyahu described as, “very strong action if fire is resumed.”