Girls walk past a banner with a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin along a bridge, in central Cairo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Moscow will support the Palestinians in their efforts to build an independent state with a capital in east Jerusalem, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday according to Israel Radio.
Speaking at the 26th annual Arab League Summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik over the weekend, Putin said that "Palestinians have the right to establish an independent and habitable state with a capital in east Jerusalem."
He further vowed that "Russia will continue to contribute to achieving this goal through bilateral and multilateral channels."
Putin also spoke on the importance of matching and synchronizing the efforts of the Arab League with those of the Middle East Quartet, composed of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.
In a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Putin spoke of developing the relationship of the two nations with a focus on Iran, whose foreign delegation is currently engaged in pivotal negotiations with world powers over its nuclear program.
There were no reports that Putin and Netanyahu had spoken on the subject of Palestinian statehood, the prospects of which the Israeli prime minister had diminished during his recent election campaign when he vowed to not allow the Palestinians a state as long as he was in power and as long as the current unstable circumstances in the Middle East persisted.
The Russian leader had already been on a state visit to Egypt in September during which he was interviewed by Al-Ahram
and asked what Russia had done to bring about a solution to the issue of Palestinian statehood.
He had reiterated Russia's support for the Palestinian's failed resolution brought to the UN Security Council in December which called for the end of the occupation of the West Bank and a full Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 lines by 2017.
Putin recently vanished from the public eye for some two weeks. Rumors and conspiracies abounded over his sudden disappearance, some suggesting that the Russian strongman had fallen ill, or that he had even fallen victim to an internal, albeit quiet coup by rivals.