BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs David Schenker said on Thursday that Russia “plays a destructive role” in the Middle East and “must leave” the region.

According to Schenker, keeping the Russians away from this region has been the cornerstone of American politics 45 years ago.

“We honestly believe that they (Russia) should get out of there (the Middle East),” the official said.

At the same time, Schenker commented on the rivalry between Russia, the United States and China in the region, noting that Washington does not force these countries to make any choice, but it wants them to understand the consequences that any of the options might lead to.

Schenker noted that it was Russia that changed the course of the war in Syria, and as a result President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

He added, that success in Syria led Russia to take steps in Libya, where “it is not now playing a productive or stable role.”

It is reported that Trump has expressed his desire to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the Middle East, and that he intends to go to NATO with a request to participate more in the events of the region.

On the other hand, the expert in the Palestinian and Israeli affairs, Dr. Abdul-Mahdi Mutawa, said that Russia’s influence in the region and its strong and common interests with Israel, especially in the Syrian file, as well as the historical relationship between Palestine and Russia, makes Moscow an essential and important party in any peace talks in the Middle East.

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In addition, Russia is part of the international Quartet, which sponsors the peace process.

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