Putin, Abbas to hold talks in Moscow on Apr 18

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Moscow, Apr 15: Outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas here on April 18.

Mr Abbas is visiting Moscow at the invitation of Putin, a Kremlin spokesman said today. He is also scheduled to discuss with the senior level Russian officials the relations between Palestine and Russia and the West Asia peace process as a whole, the spokesman added. During his visit, Abbas would discuss the plans for a West Asia peace conference due to be held in Moscow, the Palestinian embassy said. The conference is expected to be held in June.

Russia is involved in the West Asia peace process as a party to the Quartet of mediators along with the US, the UN and the European Union. The Quartet is scheduled to meet on April 17 in Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Moscow's plans to host the conference, a follow up to last November's talks in Annapolis, in the US, have received the backing of several West Asia countries including Syria.

''We cannot ignore any international meeting that will discuss our problems, and from all indications the upcoming meetings, especially the Moscow conference, will open the way to a real settlement along all lines of the West Asia peace process,'' Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad told RIA Novosti news agency in Damascus yesterday.

Since November, Russia has urged West Asian countries to implement agreements reached in Annapolis and try to prevent unilateral measures.


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