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February 7, 2023 12:50 pm

Russian Foreign Minister Calls for Creation of Palestinian State During Visit to Iraq to Bolster Support for Putin

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shipenkov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state during an official visit to Iraq to shore up support for President Vladimir Putin’s regime as the war in Ukraine enters its second year.

“We will continue close contacts with our colleagues, including on the consideration of acute, longstanding, decades-unresolved problems in this region,” Lavrov declared at a press conference in Baghdad.

“Of course, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the task of creating a Palestinian state is one of our key priorities,” Lavrov emphasized. “We are glad that the League of Arab States has not forgotten about this conflict.”

Much of Lavrov’s address consisted of barbs against the US and NATO, claiming that the west “has been preparing for a hybrid war against the Russian Federation for many years.”

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Over the last 12 months, Lavrov has traveled to numerous countries in Africa and the Middle East to pressure local leaders to defy the sanctions imposed on Russia by western nations. He has also eagerly courted controversy, infuriating Israeli and Jewish leaders in April last year when he opined that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler likely had “Jewish blood.”

Russia has periodically called for the establishment of a Palestinian state over the last 12 months in a bid to call out the US and its NATO allies for alleged double standards in their backing of Ukraine’s democratic government. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has responded in kind, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas stating at a summit in Kazakhstan last October that “Russia stands for justice, for international law.”

Lavrov’s main business in Baghdad centered on discussions with Iraqi government officials over its unpaid bills to Russian energy companies. Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein told reporters that he planned to visit Washington, DC, to discuss the issue, saying that “sanctions should not be imposed on Iraq because its cooperation continues with Russian companies.”

Iran’s regime, which has supplied Russia with attack drones to prosecute its war in Ukraine, exercises significant influence over Iraq’s government. Thus far, Iraq has abstained from official condemnations and United Nations resolutions concerning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.



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