Author: TOVAH LAZAROFF
Posted November 11, 2016
“Both Israelis and Palestinians have given a nod in the direction of the initiative but have not set a date with the Russians.”
PA President Abbas with Russian PM Medvedev. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Russian Prime Minister Dimity Medvedev pushed forward Moscow’s initiative for direct Israeli-Palestinian talks to be held in Moscow without preconditions as he visited with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho on Friday.
“This initiative is still on the table,” Medvedev told Abbas, according to WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency which reported on the meeting.
Both Israelis and Palestinians have given a nod in the direction of the initiative but have not set a date with the Russians.
The United States has traditionally been the broker of past negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but its last initiative fell apart in April 2014. In the interim, Moscow talks are one of a number of proposals on the table, alongside a call by France for an international peace conference at the end of December that it hopes will include the Russians and the US.
The US has an effective role in the peace process, Medvedev told Abbas, but it has not been active with regard to the peace process.
He added that a continued stalemate in the peace process could lead to an escalation of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
Russia believes that the two state solution is the best resolution of the conflict, he added.
Abbas told Medvedev, “We welcomed the invitation of President Putin to hold a tripartite meeting in Moscow, but the Israeli side requested a postponement.
“From a long time ago, we have been prepared for a direct dialogue with the Israeli side,” Abbas said.
He added, however, that for those talks to occur, the Palestinians would want Israel to accept that a two-state solution would be based on the pre-1967 lines.
“We want him to say two words—I am with the two state solution along 67 lines. If he says that, he will be prepared for negotiations. The whole world, a large part of the Israeli people say this word. Our hands are always extended for peace.”
“We have confidence that Russia will play an active and supportive role in the peace process in our region,” he said.
The Palestinians were prepared to make peace with Israel and to implement the two state solution according to decisions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, Abbas said.
“It is necessary for Israel to implement signed agreements with us. Our recognition of the state of Israel cannot be for free.
“As such, it is necessary for Israel to recognize the state of Palestine,” Abbas said after the meeting according to WAFA.
“I told Medvedev that we support an international conference for peace, for which arrangements to hold it at the end of year are ongoing.”
Abbas said he is proud of the depth of the historical friendship between Russia and Palestine.
“We always look forward for greater development of this relationship through the continuation of political support for the Palestinian issue in international forums and visits to each other’s countries.”
Abbas thanked the Russian PM for funding to rehabilitate a street in Jericho, which he announced will be called PM Medvedev street.
Abbas said he informed Medvedev about the difficult conditions that Palestinians live under, emphasizing that Israel need to implement signed agreements. “Our recognition of the state Israel cannot be for free. As such, it is necessary for Israel to recognize the state of Palestine.”
Regarding the election of Donald Trump, Abbas said, “The election of Donald Trump is an American issue…We followed the electoral process for more than the past year; what is important to us is what Trump will say after he arrives at the White House. We call on him to work on implementing the two state solution, the state of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security,” adding, “We congratulated him and we are waiting for him to arrive at the White House to hear what he says.”
Adam Rasgon contributed to this article.