Abbas meets Medvedev, lobbies Russian support

PA president hits Russia on last leg of European swing; tells Medvedev that street named in his honor in Jericho.

January 20, 2012 19:09
2 minute read.
PA's Abbas meets Russia's Medvedev in Moscow

Abbas and Medvedev 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on Friday, where the two leaders focused on efforts to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, AFP reported.

Abbas was in Russia as part of a tour that also saw him visit London and Berlin in attempts to drum up European support.

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The PA president told his Russian counterpart that a street had been named in Medvedev's honor in the West Bank town of Jericho, where he visited in January 2011.

"I see this as a symbol of Russian-Palestinian friendship, which stretches back not decades, but centuries," AFP quoted Medvedev as saying in response. "This is proof of the fact that our relations remain on an excellent level," he added.

Russia is part of the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators along with the US, the UN and the European Union.

Israel and the Palestinians have sparred over their different interpretations of a Quartet framework to restart peace talks between the sides.

Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho and chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat met Saturday night at the headquarters of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department in Amman for the third round of Jordanian- sponsored talks since January 3. For the first time, neither representatives of Jordan nor the Quartet participated in these talks.

The Palestinians say January 26 is a deadline imposed by the Quartet on the two sides last September to present comprehensive proposals on border and security issues.

The Palestinians have already presented their proposals.

Israel, however, maintains January 26 is not a deadline, and the Quartet said in its September statement outlining a path to renewing the talks that the two sides needed to present their proposals 90 days after direct talks began.

“It is not logical to think that we could solve all these issues and present proposals 21 days after the talks began,” one Israeli government official said. The official said Israel was more than willing to present its proposals after 90 days, although he would not say whether this included a willingness to present the Palestinians a map of where precisely Israel wanted to draw the borders of a future Palestinian state.

One PA official in Ramallah said the US Administration and some EU governments were putting heavy pressure on Abbas to continue the talks with Israel after January 26.

He said American and European government officials have told Abbas the Quartet deadline clock started only when the Israelis and Palestinians began their talks in Amman three weeks ago.

Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

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