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Abbas meets with Russian PM in Jericho

Nov. 12, 2016 7:23 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 14, 2016 7:15 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- During a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday, the two nations reaffirmed their diplomatic ties and signed six cooperation agreements.

Medvedev reiterated Russia’s support for the two-state solution in a joint press conference with Abbas, saying it was the “only way to bring real peace in this land,” according to Palestinian media.

For Abbas’ part, he stressed the importance of Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian based on 1967 borders. “Recognizing Israel will never be free. It must be met with Israeli recognition of the Palestinian state,” he said.

Abbas added that his readiness to meet with Medvedev was proof that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was also ready to engage with Israel for direct peace talks. In September, Russia proposed to host a meeting between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it has not yet come to fruition.

“Mr. Netanyahu has to understand that if he does not believe in the two-state solution, there will never be peace,” Abbas reportedly told the Russian prime minister.

The cooperation agreements were signed to encourage and protect mutual investments between the two states; the development of industrial zones; cooperation between Palestinian and Russian chambers of commerce; cooperation in the field of safety, health, and vocational training; while an agreement was signed affirming that Palestinian cultural events will be celebrated in Russia and Russian cultural events will be celebrated in Palestine.

Medvedev also reportedly visited Hisham’s Palace and the Russian museum in Jericho, while a street was named after Medvedev in Jericho.

The meeting came amid a three-day trip to the region by Medvedev, which began on Thursday with a visit to the Western Wall in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and meetings with Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

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