World Jewish News
PA leader Abbas ‘ready to meet’ Netanyahu if Russia hosts
16.04.2019, Israel and the World
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is ready to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Russian-led initiative, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki told Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Tuesday.
“We have reiterated our readiness and our willingness to [Russian President Vladimir Putin] that any time that he believes there is readiness on the Israeli side we will be more than ready to come and sit and have talks with Netanyahu in the presence of President Putin,” Malki said.
Since the hotly contested U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem, Palestinian officials have refused to meet with their U.S. counterparts, claiming the United States has unfairly sided with Israel and thus can no longer act as an impartial broker in peace talks.
Senior officials in the Palestine Liberation Organization have said recently they believe Russia would be a more “balanced” and “credible” mediator in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
For its part, Russia has also repeatedly expressed willingness to arrange talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
“We are ready to talk with the Israelis without any conditions … as long as the invitation comes from President Putin,” said Malki. Putin, he added, was “the one who will create the best conditions for a meeting to take place and for a meeting to be successful.”
Malki also said the PA government would reject any proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that does not recognize Palestine as an independent state, in reference to the Trump administration’s reportedly imminent unveiling of its “deal of the century.”
The last formal meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas was in September 2010.
The Ramallah-based PA has seen increasingly icy relations with the U.S. following a series of policy moves deemed hostile to the Palestinian cause, including Trump’s decisions to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and drastically defund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
This article was originally published by i24NEWS.