Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) walks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a welcoming ceremony before their meeting in the West Bank city of Jericho on January 18, 2011. During his visit Medvedev said Russia had recognized an independent Palestinian state in 1988 and was not changing that position. UPI | License Photo
JERICHO, West Bank, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recognized Palestine as an independent state during a visit to Jericho.
Medvedev said since 1988 Moscow has recognized the need for a Palestinian state during his visit Tuesday to the Palestinian city. He said everyone including Israel will benefit from its establishment, Ynetnews.com said Wednesday.
"The Russian position hasn't changed, as I've told the president," Medvedev said. "Russia made its choice long ago, at the end of the '80s. We supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to create its own state, which is independent, territorially integral and with a capital in East Jerusalem," The Jerusalem Post quoted Medvedev as telling a news conference.
Israeli government officials told the English-language daily Medvedev refrained from explicitly calling for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders. They said prior to the visit in Jericho, Israeli officials had contacted the Russian delegation and had received assurances there would be no change in Moscow's position, the newspaper said.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed Medvedev's statement, calling it "an historic move to make the Palestinians proud for a very long time."
"We appreciate the Russian recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders whose capital is East Jerusalem," Erekat told Ynetnews.com.
At the joint news conference, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for a complete halt to settlement activity and said there were only two choices, the path of peace, or violence and terror, the Post said.
"We won't choose violence and terrorism," Abbas said. "Therefore, we tell the Israelis that they must choose the path of peace for their own interest and for the interests of their generations," the paper quoted him as saying.