Russia is offering to play the role of an "honest moderator" in the Israel-Palestine conflict after the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, which was supported by 14 nations of the 15-member body.
Moscow's deputy UN envoy Vladimir Safronkov said Russia is ready to hold direct talks between the two sides – effectively replacing the US – and insisted that it is important to move "as quickly as possible towards direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations".
As the Russian diplomat called on all parties involved to "show restraint" he said: "We are ready to become an honest mediator here," making thinly veiled remarks that the US' steps are favouring Israel.
The US stood isolated at the UN Security Council on Monday, 18 December, after all the members except Washington voted in favour of an Egypt-drafted resolution, which would have required President Donald Trump to withdraw his declaration of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
The resolution did not specifically mention the US but expressed "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem". The proposed resolution stated, "that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council".
Although it was certain from the beginning that such a resolution would be blocked by the veto-wielding US, the Arab world and its supporters had wanted to table a vote at the top UN body in order show the depth of global opposition for Trump's decision. Even the US' closest geopolitical allies – Japan, Britain, and France – voted in support of the draft.
"What we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult. It won't be forgotten," said the US' ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley highlighting that this was Washington's first use of the veto power in more than six years.
"The fact that this veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of America's role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council," the American ambassador shot back after the veto vote.