Putin and Trump stand for peace "in our Palestines"
Last week, Vladimir Putin met with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in Sochi, who once again stated that it is impossible to solve the Palestinian issue without Russia's meaningful participation. The meeting was of a humanitarian character - Putin and Abbas took part via video link-up in the opening of a multifunctional cultural and sports complex in Bethlehem, which was built with Russian assistance and donated to the people of Palestine.
Last year, the reconstruction of Star Street in the historic center of Bethlehem, implemented jointly with Russia, was started. This street adjoins the square in front of the Church of the Nativity. Mahmoud Abbas expressed confidence that the updated look of the city's major sights will attract even more pilgrims and tourists from Russia, recalling that more than 300,000 Russian citizens visited Palestine in 2016.
Nevertheless, the main theme of the meeting was the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. "The peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel is an essential condition for ensuring genuine security and stability in this region. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has only a political, negotiated solution based on international law. It is therefore important to maintain bilateral relations, refrain from unilateral steps, search together for mutually acceptable solutions, and fight terrorism together. As a member of the Middle East quartet, along with the UN, the US, and the European Union, Russia will continue to give its full support to resuming direct dialogue between the Palestinians and Israelis," Vladimir Putin promised.
"We will never forget that Russia was one of the first countries to recognise the Palestinian state on the international arena. We seek through every means to continue developing and reinforcing our bilateral ties and activate our bilateral intergovernmental commission’s work. In this respect, let me express sincere gratitude for all that Russia has done in terms of its programme of support for building the Palestinian national state and its institutions," Abbas said. At the same time he mentioned his meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House. "Trump expressed willingness to make every possible effort to conclude a historic peace deal that would put an end to the confrontation between the Israelis and us. We believe that fighting terrorism and extremism is an international responsibility, and we, for our part, are committed to it. We believe that our people acquiring their freedom and independence will deny the extremists leverage and help consolidate the foundations of security and peace in our region," Abbas said.
Summing up the results of the talks, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki emphasized that they were held immediately after Abbas' visit to Washington. There, Mahmoud Abbas urged Donald Trump to abstain from moving the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"The Palestinian president visited a number of Arab capitals, many Arab and European high officials tried to convey to the US leadership the idea of the danger of moving the capital of Israel to Jerusalem. In March, the Presidents of Palestine, Egypt and Jordan took a decision on the need for a unified Arab approach to the Palestinian issue. They came to the conclusion that all three leaders need to speak with the US president in the same vein".
"Trump will visit Israel and Palestine to continue meetings with the leadership of the countries and once again listen to their views during the meetings scheduled for May 22-23. He will hold the US-Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh. In addition, President Trump will be able to get acquainted with the views of other leaders (not just Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Egypt) about the Palestinian issue. I think it will help the Trump administration to understand that more attention needs to be given this issue," the minister believes.