Moscow condemns Netanyahu’s annexation bid on eve of his visit to Russia
Russia has strongly condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election pledge to annex north of the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank on the eve of his visit to the Russian city of Sochi.
According to Press TV, in a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned that the implementation of Netanyahu’s plan may result in a “sharp escalation of tension in the region”.
It may also “undermine hopes for a long-awaited peace” in the region, the statement added, urging Tel Aviv to return to direct negotiations based on “relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid Principle and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
The condemnation came on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit to the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where he is scheduled to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
The visit, announced on Tuesday, will be held just five days before the Israeli snap legislative elections. The last time Putin and Netanyahu met was in Moscow on April 4, again five days before the last Israeli election.
Netanyahu has promised to go ahead with the annexation plan in case he emerges victorious in the forthcoming votes.
The 69-year-old Chairman of the Likud-National Liberal Movement also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements throughout the occupied West Bank if re-elected, and in coordination with US President Donald Trump.
The plan has drawn sharp criticism from countries in West Asia, including Jordan and Turkey, and international bodies like the UN and the Arab League.
Iran on Wednesday said the Israeli prime minister seeks to stay in power through annexations and anti-Iran accusations.
“Netanyahu is after votes to stay in power and continue with expansionist policies and aggression one day through making accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran and one day by announcing his malicious intention to annex certain parts of Palestine,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said.