Putin reveals discussions on Mideast with Trump
The Russian president was hosting the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas when he spoke of talks with US counterpart
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday at the start of talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he had discussed the Middle East conflict with his US counterpart Donald Trump.
“I just spoke with American president Trump,” Mr Putin told Mr Abbas before continuing the talks behind closed doors. “Obviously we spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The Palestinian president was visiting Moscow in an effort to secure Mr Putin’s support after Mr Trump outraged the Palestinians and their allies by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The “situation is far from what we want to see,” Mr Putin said, adding that he has “always supported the Palestinian people”.
“It is very important for us to know your personal opinion in order to set the record straight and put in place a common approach to solve this problem,” Mr Putin told his guest.
Mr Trump told the Russian leader that “now is the time to work toward an enduring peace agreement,” according to a White House statement.
Mr Abbas has refused any contact with Mr Trump’s government since Washington’s decision at the end of last year.
“Given the atmosphere created by the United State’s actions, we ... refuse any cooperation with the United States as a mediator,” said Mr Abbas.
“In case of an international meeting, we ask that the United States be not the only mediator, but just one of the mediators.”
Mr Abbas’s meeting with Mr Putin came two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also visited Moscow.
Mr Netanyahu on Monday said he had been in talks with Washington about annexing settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move condemned by a top Palestinian official as “land theft”.
The White House denied Mr Netanyahu’s claims, in a rare public show of disunity.
Palestinians see the US-Jerusalem decision, which broke with years of international diplomacy, as a denial of their claim to East Jerusalem as the capital of an eventual Palestinian state.
Mr Abbas, who is due to speak at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, has promised his people to work towards full recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN.
Palestinian statehood is recognised by more than 130 countries.
Updated: February 13, 2018 10:48 AM