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Vladimir Putin 'wants to host Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Moscow'

Russian leader tells Egyptian president he is fully willing to intervene in negotiations

Gabriel Samuels
Wednesday 24 August 2016 18:10 BST
The Russian leader met Mr Netanyahu for the fourth time in a year in June, when they expressed mutual support for a ‘just’ solution to the conflict
The Russian leader met Mr Netanyahu for the fourth time in a year in June, when they expressed mutual support for a ‘just’ solution to the conflict (Getty)

Vladimir Putin is ready and willing to host peace talks aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to Egypt’s president.

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said the Russian leader pledged to directly intervene in the crisis and hold talks between Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow in the near future, with Mr al-Sisi also present.

“Putin has told me that he is ready to receive [Abbas] and Netanyahu in Moscow to carry out direct talks to find a solution,” Mr Sisi told Egyptian newspaper Al Aharam.

“I see that the conviction of the importance of peace is rising among the Israeli side, and the conviction about finding an exit to the issue is a positive sign.

"Egypt supports these efforts and both sides are urged to participate and respond positively to the initiative for the sake of finding light at the end of the tunnel for Palestinians and establishing their state alongside Israel."

The move came just days after it was announced efforts by European diplomats to host a similar meeting in Paris had failed, and further signals Mr Putin’s ambition for Russia to eventually replace the United States as chief negotiator in the Middle East.

Mr Putin claimed he “would fight” for an independent Palestinian state at an Arab League summit in March, but now appears to be interested in a more peaceful resolution.

In June, the Russian president met with Mr Netanyahu for the fourth time in the space of a year, when the leaders expressed their mutual support for a “comprehensive and just” solution to the conflict.

On Tuesday night, the Israeli government said it supported Mr Putin’s intervention and indicated Mr Netanyahu was ready “anywhere, any time, for direct peace talks with no preconditions.”

Russia was the first country to recognise the state of Palestine in 1988, and Mr Abbas has often travelled to Moscow for talks over the years with a view to creating “an independent, viable and integral Palestinian state”.

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