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Russian President Vladmir Putin visits Bethlehem

June 26, 2012 11:11 A.M. (Updated: June 26, 2012 2:21 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Bethlehem on Tuesday morning for a brief meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas.

Putin arrived with a delegation of 400 Russian politicians, journalists, and business people, amid tight security on the streets of the West Bank city.

The president visited the Nativity Church, believed to be Jesus' birthplace, before attending the opening of a Russian cultural center in the city.

The Palestinian Authority announced it is naming one of Bethlehem's main road after Putin to commemorate his visit.

Putin will meet with President Abbas before traveling on to Jordan.

The Russian president's assistant for international affairs Yuri Ushakov said the leaders will focus on ways to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and address the division between parties ruling Gaza and the West Bank, Abbas' Fatah and Hamas.
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