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'Abbas to talk emergency aid in Russia visit'

Written by: Staff

Moscow, May 12: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will discuss financial aid for the West Bank and Gaza Strip when he meets Russia's President Vladimir Putin next week, a Palestinian envoy said today.

The Palestinian government says it is facing economic meltdown after big international donors suspended most aid.

The aid was stopped when the Hamas militant organisation won elections, giving it the right to form the government. Washington says Hamas is a terrorist organisation.

The issue of aid payments from Russia has already been discussed in the run-up to Abbas's meeting with Putin on May 15, Baker Abdel Munem, the Palestinian Authority's envoy in Moscow, told a news briefing.

''I think Mr Putin will himself raise the question of financial help and not Mr Abbas,'' said the envoy. ''There have been talks about it (aid).'' He did not give any more details about Russian aid.

Russia has already transferred 10 million dollars in emergency aid to a bank account controlled by Abbas's office.

The Quartet of international mediators, the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, this week agreed to set up a mechanism to funnel money to the Palestinians to stave off a humanitarian crisis.

Abbas and Putin are to meet on May 15 in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the Russian leader has an official residence, the Kremlin's press service and the Palestinian envoy in Moscow said today.


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