Russian FM: Putin offered to host Netanyahu and Abbas

Russia's Foreign Minister says Russian President proposed to Netanyahu a summit with PA chairman to discuss Middle East peace process.

Elad Benari,

Sergei Lavrov
Sergei Lavrov
Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed in his meeting last week with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Moscow to host him and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas for a summit on the Middle East peace process, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday, according to Haaretz.

According to excerpts from Lavrov's joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, posted on the official Twitter account of the Russian embassy in Israel, Netanyahu and Putin discussed "the situation in the Israeli-Palestinian settlement."

The Russian leader reportedly "reaffirmed our position on Russia's interest in overcoming the deadlock in this matter as soon as possible."

Lavrov said both Israeli and PA leaders expressed some interest in such a proposal, without commenting on whether any party accepted it.

"We believe that it would be at least a very important step in restoring confidence," Lavrov was quoted as having said. "Without this, it is impossible to count on further progress in the Israeli-Palestinian settlement."

A senior Israeli official rejected Lavrov's remarks and told Israeli media, "The Palestinian issue never came up at the meeting between Netanyahu and Putin."

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said last week that Abbas is ready for a three-way meeting with Israel in Moscow if Putin calls for one.

Putin has in the past expressed a desire to host an Israeli-Palestinian Arab summit to revive the talks but nothing has materialized yet in this regard.

The Israel-PA peace process has been frozen since 2014, when Abbas breached conditions of talks that were ongoing at the time by unilaterally joining international treaties and conventions.

Lavrov’s comments come as the Trump administration prepares its Israel-PA peace plan, to be presented after the Israeli election in April. Abbas has rejected the US peace plan before it has even been unveiled.

Last month, Lavrov attacked the Trump administration's proposed plan, saying it would destroy the Palestinians' achievements to date in the Middle East.




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