Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday met with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and told him Russia would support his efforts aimed at facilitating the Middle East peace process, the Russian TASS news agency reports.
"I know that you are making strenuous efforts to facilitate the settlement process, and, of course, we will support your efforts aimed at activating everything that is necessary for launching a constructive dialogue," the Russian President was quoted as having said.
Putin noted that regular meetings with Abbas gave an opportunity to hold consultations, make adjustments to the bilateral relations and discuss international issues.
"It would be very interesting to discuss with you the regional problems in general and, of course, the bilateral economic relations, considering that we have launched the process (of strengthening them), an intergovernmental commission has been set up," he said, according to TASS.
Abbas noted that the PA is in favor of holding a new international conference on the Middle East settlement, saying, "Now the question of holding an international Middle East conference is on the agenda and adding this conference involves, in particular, "the determination of the principles for reaching the Middle East settlement."
"This issue is very important for us," Abbas said.
He added that the PA is actively working to reach a settlement with Israel on a two-state solution basis within the pre-1967 borders with eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.
The meeting comes as the PA has begun to promote a UN resolution condemning Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.
Abbas’s trip to Moscow was part of a round of diplomatic visits he is making to garner support for the Palestinian move before arriving in New York where he will promote the resolution while taking part in a UN conference on the climate.
The latest Palestinian effort against Israel in the UN comes after in 2014 it submitted a resolution to the UN which called for Israel to “end the occupation” – that is, to withdraw from Judea and Samaria – by 2017.
The draft resolution would have set a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the time frame for completing an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
The resolution was put to a vote in the UN Security Council late last year, but failed to secure enough votes in favor to pass. Abbas later said he would go to the UN again and try to have a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria imposed on Israel.