PA foreign minister: Abbas ready to meet Netanyahu if Russia plays host 

Source: PA foreign minister: Abbas ready to meet Netanyahu if Russia plays host | The Times of Israel

Riyad al-Malki tells Russian news outlet Palestinians will reject any peace proposal that ‘does not acknowledge the State of Palestine’s independence’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem, September 15, 2010. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem, September 15, 2010. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is prepared to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if Russia hosts the gathering, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told Sputnik, a Russian state-run news site.

Palestinian officials have said that Abbas agreed to accept a Russian suggestion to meet Netanyahu in Moscow last year, but the prime minister turned it down.

The last known encounter between Abbas and Netanyahu was at the funeral of former prime minister Shimon Peres in September 2016, where the two briefly exchanged pleasantries.

The last known time Abbas and Netanyahu met formally for negotiations was in September 2010 in Jerusalem.

“Abbas is ready to meet Netanyahu without preconditions, if Moscow hosts this meeting,” PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said in an interview with Sputnik published on Tuesday.

Malki met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a state-of-the-nation address in Moscow, Russia, February 20, 2019. (Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Abbas has previously demanded that Israel freeze settlement construction as a precondition to the resumption of negotiations between the Jewish state and the Palestinians.

Asked whether Netanyahu would be willing to meet Abbas in Moscow, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond.

Malki added that the Palestinians will reject any proposal to resolve the conflict “that does not acknowledge the State of Palestine’s independence.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration has said it intends to release a plan to resolve the conflict, but has not publicized the date it plans to do so.

While Trump has said he thinks the two-state solution, including the creation of a Palestinian state, “works best,” he has not committed to it.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that while the US administration’s apparently forthcoming plan “promises practical improvements in the lives of Palestinians,” it “is likely to stop short of ensuring a separate, fully sovereign Palestinians state,” citing people knowledgeable of its “main elements.”

The PA foreign minister also said that Abbas may visit Moscow in the next two to three months.

Abbas last visited Moscow in July 2018, when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin and attended the World Cup.

 

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