- The Media Line - https://themedialine.org -

Abbas Hosts Putin in Ramallah; Calls for International Peace Conference

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on Tuesday, the second day of the Russian leader’s Middle East trip. Abbas used the occasion to call for an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be held in Moscow. The suggestion offered implicit to Putin’s desire to become more of a player in the process and to Abbas’ need to find a high-profile patron along the lines of how the Palestinians view the American relationship to Israel. Jerusalem is on-record opposing international conferences, believing international sentiment never runs in its favor. Nevertheless, Putin was reportedly carrying a message to Abbas from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom Putin had lunch with on Tuesday, asking that the two sides return immediately to the bargaining table. The Palestinians refuse to do so until Israel signals its acceptance of pre-1967 borders, the Palestinian capital in Jerusalem, and a total cessation of building in Israeli communities located on land Israel acquired in the 1967 war. The Israelis reject the demands as “pre-conditions,” while the Palestinians call them “obligations.” At their meeting, Putin reportedly asked Abbas for an update on the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process. Putin praised Abbas and Palestinian leadership for “behaving responsibly to achieve peace base on the two-state solution.”