Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to meet with his Palestinian Authority counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in Kazakhstan to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the need to resume peace talks which have been frozen for eight years.
Both men are in the Kazakh capital of Astana to attend the sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
It is the 30th anniversary of the group of 27 member states that includes Russia, Iran, China, Turkey, Pakistan and Israel, as well as the PA, which CICA recognizes as a state.
Ibrahim Raisi to make an appearance
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is also expected to attend. Israel will be represented at the CICA by the Foreign Ministry’s head of the Eurasian and West Balkans Division Simona Halperin.
The unusual gathering of countries comes amid high tension between Iran and Israel and increased tension between Moscow and Jerusalem over Prime Minister Yair Lapid's support for Ukraine.
Abbas has often turned to Russia to seek support for a two-state resolution to the conflict with Israel, based on the pre-1967 lines. Russia has sought to replace the United States as the prime broker of a peace process, with calls for a Moscow summit.
An unlikely event
Such a summit would be unlikely given Russia’s war with Ukraine. The Russian news site Sputnik reported that Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov spoke on Wednesday with reporters about the meeting, explaining that the two men would “discuss the prospects for the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue.”
According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas left for Kazakhstan on Wednesday night and plans to discuss the conflict with Israel during his meetings with diplomats at the CICA.