Israeli PM in Moscow to discuss Trump's "deal of the century"

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 30, 2020. (AFP)

The Israeli prime minister came to Moscow on Thursday to discuss the US Middle East peace plan and take an Israeli woman who had been jailed in Russia back home.

Benjamin Netanyahu made a stopover in Moscow after visiting Washington where President Donald Trump as he unveiled his long-awaited Mideast peace plan Tuesday.

Trump’s plan envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel. It sides with Israel on key contentious issues that have bedeviled past peace efforts, including borders and the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements, and attaches nearly impossible conditions for granting the Palestinians their hoped-for state.

Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin as they sat down for talks in the Kremlin that he wants to discuss the plan and hear his opinion about it.

“You are the first leader I am speaking with after my visit in Washington for Trump's Deal of the Century," he said. "I think there is a new opportunity here, maybe even unique opportunity, and I’d like to discuss it with you and hear your insights.”

Trump called his plan a “win-win” for both Israel and the Palestinians, and urged the Palestinians not to miss their opportunity for independence. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the plan as “nonsense” and vowed to resist it.

The Israeli leader's visit comes a day after Putin pardoned 26-year-old Naama Issachar, who was arrested in April at a Moscow airport, where she was transferring en route from India to Israel.

Russian authorities said more than nine grams of hashish were found in her luggage. She was convicted and sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison.

Putin asked Netanyahu to give his regards to Issachar and her mother.

“I would like to thank you on behalf of all the people of Israel for granting a pardon to Naama Issachar," Netanyahu said. "We are all touched by this.”

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Last Update: 09:40 KSA 12:40 - GMT 09:40
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