Russia: Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed to meet for talks in Moscow

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed to meet on an unspecified date 

Thursday 08 September 2016 11:30
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Netanyahu and Abbas shook hands at the COP21 climate change summit in Paris last year
Netanyahu and Abbas shook hands at the COP21 climate change summit in Paris last year

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed in principle to meet in Moscow, in what would be their first face-to-face meeting in years.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed that an agreement had taken place on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

No date has been given for the meeting. “The most important thing is to pick the right timing,” Ms Zakharova added.

Mr Abbas and Mr Netanyahu exchanged a brief handshake at the global climate change conference in Paris last year, but have not held a public working meeting since 2010.

Mr Abbas said earlier this week that a meeting scheduled in Moscow had been postponed at Israel’s request.

Mr Abbas and Mr Netanyahu agree on hardly any issues, including the construction of Israeli settlements on land claimed by Palestinians, which means setting an agenda will be a difficult task. Any meeting at all is seen as progress, however, since US-brokered peace talks broke down in 2014.

The Moscow meeting points to Russia's growing influence in Middle Eastern affairs.

President Vladimir Putin has been vocal in his support for President Bashar Assad in the five-year-long Syrian civil war.

The Russian military has aided the Syrian government by providing fighter jets to assist in the fight against various rebel groups since last September.

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