President Vladimir Putin told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas he discussed the Arab-Israeli peace process during a telephone conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump, Russian media reports.
Putin made the remarks while meeting with Abbas on Monday evening, TASS reports. “I just had a phone conversation with the President of the United States of America, [Donald] Trump,” the Russian President said.
“Of course, we also talked about the Israeli-Palestinian settlement,” he said, adding that Trump wished Abbas “all the best.”
Starting bilateral talks with Abbas, Putin underlined “the depth and quality” of Russian-Palestinian ties, adding there is still much to be done. “The situation in the region is far from the one that we would like to see,” he said, adding that Russia has always supported the Palestinian people. He said he had raised the issue up with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a recent visit.
Abbas said that due to the recent actions of the Americans, notably their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Washington has been ruled out as a trustworthy mediator in the eyes of Palestinians. If the US wants to take part in the peace process, it should not come alone but as part of a group, he added.
Palestine was represented at the talks by Foreign Minister Riad Malki and Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and presidential aide Yuri Ushakov were also present.
Earlier on Monday the conflict was discussed by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Egypt said the US must restart talks between Israel and Palestine, according to Palestine’s official WAFA news agency.
Presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said Sisi affirmed: “Egypt’s clear and unwavering stance on reaching a fair and comprehensive solution that guarantees the right of Palestinian people and the establishment of an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem in line with the June 1967 borders in accordance with international resolutions.”
Tillerson met Sisi before continuing on his regional tour of western Asia.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said he and Tillerson had “discussed how to reach a solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict on the basis of a two state solution and the importance of maintaining US efforts to reach this final settlement.”
Like past US presidents, Trump last year expressed a wish to find a solution to the 70-year conflict – regardless of whether that meant a “one-state” or “two-state” solution.
But on December 6 last year Trump threw the peace process into turmoil when he declared Washington’s official recognition for Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestine claims Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, although Israeli settlements – in defiance of UN resolutions – are gradually annexing the city and its outskirts.
Last month Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council said they would cease to recognize the US role as a peace broker – or Israel as a Jewish-only state. Within days Washington announced cuts to funding for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA – but claimed the move was not a punishment.
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