Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Russian political and religious leaders during a four-day visit to Russia this week, the RIA Novosti news service reported Tuesday, quoting a senior Palestinian official.
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Abbas, who arrives in Moscow on Wednesday, is expected to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, to discuss bilateral relations and the United States-mediated talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
“Abbas’s visit takes place at the time when our talks with Israel are deadlocked,” said Nabil Shaath, Fatah's Commissioner of International Relations.
“Russia has played a huge role in reaching agreement with Iran and we are also seeing progress [in talks] on Syria. This brings us hope that the visit [of Abbas] will ensure progress in settling the Palestinian-Israeli issue,” Shaath said.
In an interview with the Voice of Russia radio, Shhath said that Russia had shown "that it can do much, including in the Middle East as in the case of the Iranian nuclear program and the search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. We believe that Russia can play a still bigger role in tackling other international problems. So, it’s not just the Americans who will tackle them."
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian talks, Shaath said that he sees no progess, "despite the seriousness with which we approach it and despite our strong desire to achieve at least something.
"We hope that Russia will be able to continue to play an important role in the Palestinian issue. Perhaps, with Russia’s help, a somewhat different format for the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks could be found," he said.