Abbas: Moscow essential to resolving conflict

Earlier on Thursday, the two leaders inaugurated a Russian-financed economic and cultural center in Bethlehem via video conference.

May 12, 2017 06:36
1 minute read.
Putin Abbas

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) shakes hands with PA President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, on April 18 last year. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Peace between Israel and the Palestinians cannot be achieved without the participation of Russia, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in the resort city Sochi on Thursday.

“It is impossible to solve the Palestinian issue without Russia’s meaningful participation in the peace process,” Abbas said, according to Tass, an official Russian news agency. “That is what we have been emphasizing at all international meetings.”

Abbas, who visited the White House last week, arrived in Russia on Wednesday to meet with Putin and other officials.

The PA leader also reiterated that he is willing to participate in a trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Putin in Moscow. “We are ready to accept this invitation at any time,” Abbas said.

Both Abbas and Netanyahu agreed “in principle” to a trilateral meeting in Moscow last year, but a date was never set.

Putin said Russia and the Palestinians have strong ties.

“In the recent history, our relations have remained warm and trust-based,” he stated, according to Tass. “For years, we have been trying to solve one of the key issues of the modern world, that is the Middle East issue, so we always have things to discuss.”

Earlier on Thursday, the two leaders inaugurated a Russian-financed economic and cultural center in Bethlehem via video conference.

The six-story center contains a theater, meeting hall, karate and Judo gyms, a cafeteria, and offices for lease, according to Wafa, the official PA news site.

Putin is the second foreign leader Abbas met with this week. The PA president also met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday in Ramallah.

“We affirmed to [Trump] that we are ready to cooperate with him and meet the Israeli prime minister under his auspices in order to make peace,” Abbas told a joint press conference with the German president, without mentioning preconditions such as a settlement freeze.

Nabil Sha’ath, Abbas’s foreign policy adviser, declined to say on Tuesday whether a settlement freeze is necessary before the renewal of peace talks.

“We will have to discuss that issue in future meetings with the Trump administration,” he said.

Abbas is slated to arrive in India on Sunday to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi.

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