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Putin discusses Mideast with Trump, hosts Abbas


Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday at the start of talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas that he had discussed the Middle East conflict with his US counterpart Donald Trump.

“I just spoke with American President Trump,” Putin told Abbas before continuing the talks behind closed doors. “Obviously we spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The Palestinian leader was visiting Moscow in a bid to secure Putin’s support after Trump outraged the Palestinians and their allies by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“It is very important for us to know your personal opinion in order to set the record straight and put in place a common approach to solve this problem,” Putin told his guest.

Abbas has refused any contact with Trump’s administration since Washington’s decision at the end of last year.

“Given the atmosphere created by the United State’s actions, we… refuse any cooperation with the United States as a mediator,” said Abbas.

“In case of an international meeting, we ask that the United States be not the only mediators, but just one of the mediators.”

His meeting with Putin came two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also visited Moscow.

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