Israel PM discusses possible Abbas meeting with Russia envoy
JERUSALEM - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday discussed with a Russian envoy a Moscow proposal to organise a meeting between him and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Netanyahu's office said he was open to such a meeting after he held talks in Jerusalem with Mikhail Bogdanov, President Vladimir Putin's Middle East envoy.
They "discussed President Putin's proposal to host a face-to-face meeting between the prime minister and president Abbas in Moscow," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.
"The prime minister presented Israel's position that he is always ready to meet with president Abbas directly and without preconditions. He is therefore reviewing the Russian president's proposal and the timing of a possible meeting."
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said recently Putin wanted to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive peace talks.
Abbas's office has said the Palestinians are ready to participate in any peace initiative aimed at a "comprehensive and fair solution".
But Palestinian leaders also say years of negotiations with the Israelis have not ended the occupation of the West Bank, and they have more recently pursued an international strategy.
They say an Abbas-Netanyahu meeting would lead nowhere without a freeze on Israeli settlement building, the release of Palestinian prisoners and a deadline for an end to the occupation.
Peace efforts have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.
The last substantial public meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu is thought to have been in 2010, though there have been unconfirmed reports of secret meetings since then.