Moscow backs resumption of dialogue between Israel and Palestine

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Moscow supports the resumption of dialogue between Israel and Palestine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, as his US counterpart Donald Trump prepares to visit Israel.

Putin said Russia “will continue to give its full support to the resumption of direct dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis”, following talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

“The peaceful coexistence of the two states -- Palestine and Israel -- is an indispensable condition to ensure genuine security and stability in this region,” Putin said.

Abbas meanwhile said Palestine “values Russia’s counter terrorism efforts, as well as its contribution to strengthening security and stability in the Middle East, including in Syria,” Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency reported.

After Putin’s meeting with Abbas, Russia’s defense ministry said that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had called his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Thursday.

The two ministers discussed defense cooperation between Russia and Palestine as well as regional security issues, the ministry said in a statement.

Abbas said Thursday he welcomed “President Trump’s desire to help find a solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, according to a transcript published by official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

“I told him that we were completely ready to cooperate with him and undertake efforts to reach a historical peace plan to end the conflict between us and the Israelis,” Abbas said.

Abbas said Tuesday that Trump was expected to visit the Palestinian territories “soon” and that he was ready to meet Israel’s prime minister as part of the US president’s peace efforts.

Trump is expected in Israel later this month as part of his first foreign trip, and Abbas said Tuesday “we are looking forward to his visit soon to Bethlehem” in the occupied West Bank, with speculation it will occur on May 23.

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