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Russia's Lavrov Meets Palestinian Negotiator

The chief Palestinian negotiator in Middle East peace talks, Saeb Erekat, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on December 22.

Erekat and Lavrov discussed the status of peace efforts and a draft UN resolution that would pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state.

The draft, submitted by Jordan last week on behalf of the Palestinians, would set a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the timeframe for completing an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories.

Israel fiercely opposes the draft and the United States said it would not support it.

In opening remarks at his meeting with Erekat in Moscow, Lavrov said Russia "fully supports the lawful aspiration of the Palestinian people to finally obtain their statehood."

But Lavrov said on December 19 that it is important to understand how the push for a resolution "may impact efforts to lead the peace process out of the stalemate it was driven into this year."

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, AFP, AP, and dpa