Abbas meets with Putin in Russian resort

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday for talks on aid to the Palestinians and ways to revive dialogue with Israel. A Kremlin official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record, said the meeting was taking place at "an extraordinarily complex and crucial moment." The Kremlin official said in a statement that the meeting "will be oriented toward a search for ways to restore dialogue on crucial aspects" of the peace process, focusing on implementation of the stalled "road map" peace plan endorsed by the so-called Quartet of Middle East negotiators - Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. The official said Putin and Abbas would also discuss "what Russia could do additionally" to help improve the situation, revive Israeli-Palestinian contacts and encourage the sides to reach agreements on security and other issues.