The US television network CNN described as “formal” the role of Russia in the heart of the Quartet of negotiations. If that is the case, I don’t see why the United States would be part of it. When the United States speak about implementing the “road map”, they repeat that this plan has to be carried out by the Quartet for whose direction James D. Wolfensohn has just been appointed. The name of Quartet clearly expresses that the solution of the conflict has to be found by its four members: Russia, The United States, The European Union and The United Nations. Russia’s influence is ever increasing as it has almost recovered from the economic crisis and we count on it. We support the idea of a Middle East Summit as it would be a positive step although the Israelis oppose it - that is the position they have traditionally maintained. They also opposed the London Conference of March, 2005. They are afraid that the international community makes them comply with their obligations with respect to the Palestinians.
The Israelis foresee evacuating the Gaza area. For us, it is important that it is only the first step towards the implementation of the “road map”. On March 8, we will debate in Moscow about the material assistance that we were promised in London. Sharon has tried to separate us from the process but everything has gone right. The associates have promised us more than one billion dollars but the earmarking mechanism has not been defined yet. Wolfensohn does not even have an office in the region, which is essential, no matter if it is in Ramalah or in East Jerusalem. I am not sure if he was authorized to open an office in Gaza; The United States did not authorized its diplomats to live there after three of them were killed two years ago.
Russia does no contribute with money but helps with other means. They train our leaders, including those of the special services. We also hope to have their armored vehicles for our police corps and helicopters for the president. Yasser Arafat had Russian helicopters and a Russian crew. They were destroyed by Israeli missiles when the Intifada began. The Israelis have not told us officially about any prohibition regarding the armored vehicles; they may, but it would be weird as they are interested in a strong Palestinian power.

Vremya Novostyey (Russia)

" Израиль разрешил поставить Палестине только вертолеты ", by Taieb Abdel-Rahim, Vremya Novostyey, May 4, 2005.
Text adapted from an interview.