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18 Apr, 2008 15:10

Takes two to make peace: Russia supports Middle East talks

Russia has pledged to support both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in their efforts to end conflict in the Middle East, according to comments made by President Putin during talks with the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in Moscow. In return, Abbas

During his three-day visit Abbas is expected to finalise arrangements for the June conference, which, he believes will be successful and will bring progress in the Middle East.

“Of course there is a whole range of other questions in our bilateral relationship. And Russia’s help in developing our partnership is very important to us,” he added.

Palestine is calling for Israel to halt the expansion of settlements and dismantle illegal settlements.

Russia is a member of the quartet seeking to broker Middle East peace, along with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Russia says it will continue to contribute to efforts for peace and stability in the region and Moscow’s role as a host for this June’s peace conference is proof that Russia plays a tremendous role in the overall effort to achieve a settlement acceptable to both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

Ahead of Friday's meeting the Palestinian leader stressed Russia's importance in settling the long-standing Middle East conflict.

“Historically, Russia plays an important role in the sense that it has long dealt with the Middle East peace settlement problem. There are many reasons for that and one of them is that Russia is located close to the Middle East. In addition, it has become a special member of the United Nations Security Council, as well as a member of the quartet that is responsible for the peace process and has drawn up the road map. Thus I think it is a must that Russia plays an important role like the United States, Europe and the United Nations,” Abbas said.

Earlier, Mahmoud Abbas received an honorary doctorate from Moscow State Institute of International Relations and gave a lecture to its top students.

The Palestinian leader has also met several important Russian figures, including Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.