Abbas arrives in Moscow for pre-summit talks on West Asia

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Moscow, April 17 (UNI) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived here today to prepare for the Quartet's peace conference on West Asia which is slated for this June in Moscow.

During his three-day visit, President Abbas is expected to finalise arrangements for the conference. He is scheduled to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today before meeting outgoing President Vladimir Putin tomorrow.

Russia is a member of the Quartet on West Asia peace settlement, which includes United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Speaking at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations today, Mr Abbas expressed hope the conference would take place as scheduled and that it would ''save the peace process.'' ''We attach great significance to and are pinning hopes on promoting the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis, on the call for the beginning of a comprehensive process of establishing peace in the West Asia, including the Syrian and Lebanese directions,'' he said.

''We are looking at the peace initiatives launched in Annapolis with optimism,'' he said.

UNI XC SZ ND2000

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