Putin and Abbas to Discuss New Peace Talks Format

MOSCOW (Reuters/Hamodia) —

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas plan to discuss a possible new mediation mechanism to replace the Middle East Quartet, the Interfax news agency said on Wednesday, citing a Palestinian diplomat in Russia.

The discussion is set to take place when the two meet in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Feb. 12, Abdel Hafiz Nofal, a Palestinian envoy in Moscow, was cited as saying.

The Palestinian Authority has been trying to persuade Russia to play a more active role in Mideast peacemaking, since President Donald Trump’s recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital on December 6.

Abbas has also been seeking greater European involvement in the peace process. However, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after Abbas’s visit in Brussels recently that American involvement remains essential.

“We are hoping that Russia and the EU will step in to fill the void,” a PA official said.

“We believe that these countries should and can play a larger role in any peace process in the wake of the Trump administration’s hostile policies toward the Palestinians and bias in favor of Israel.”

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