Russia's President Medvedev (R) 311 .
(photo credit: RIA Novosti / Reuters)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left Wednesday night for a 24-hour trip to
Russia, after delaying his departure for a few hours following the bombing
attack in Jerusalem.
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Netanyahu is scheduled to hold separate meetings in
Moscow Thursday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin. The two held meetings in Moscow on Tuesday with PA President
Mahmoud Abbas in an apparent effort to take a more active and public role in the
Russia, along with the US, EU and UN, is a member of
the Quartet which in recent weeks has made an effort to raise its profile in the
diplomatic process. Quartet representatives met twice this month with the PA’s
Saeb Erekat, and once with Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho.
envoy in Israel, Andrew Standley, said Wednesday that the Quartet feels it has a
“role to play” to bring the parties together, and would continue to do so.
Standley repeated the Quartet position that if the sides sat down to
negotiations, it could be possible to reach an accord by September.
downplayed the likelihood that the EU would unilaterally recognize a Palestinian
state, saying “we are not there, that is not the channel of thinking.” Rather,
he said, the focus remained on “how to get back to negotiations, and how to
engage the sides.”
Standley said that French Foreign Minister Alain
Juppe’s comment that the possibility of the entire EU recognizing a Palestinian
state is something that “should be kept in mind” was not a declaration of EU
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, left for Paris
Wednesday night for a visit that will include a meeting with Juppe. The new
French foreign minister’s comment is sure to be one of the topics of
Likewise, Lieberman, according to a statement issued by the
Foreign Ministry, will tell Juppe that Israel expected French support for the
IDF’s response to missile attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israeli population
Lieberman, the statement said, will say that the escalation in
missile attacks by Hamas and increasing attempts by Iran to smuggle arms into
Gaza are part of an effort to “exploit the situation in the Middle East to
threaten and harm Israel.”