17:50 GMT06 June 2020
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    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has penned a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to talk the United States out of moving its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat, who is paying a visit to Russia on January 12-14 said he was going to hand the letter over to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who would pass it on to President Putin.

    "I also have a written message from President Mahmoud Abbas to President Vladimir Putin. I will deliver it to Mr. Lavrov's tomorrow. It is asking President Putin's and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's intervention in order to sit with the American administration to prevent the American embassy move to Jerusalem as there are consequences for this step," Erekat said.

    The Friday meeting with Lavrov is "part of ongoing coordination and consultation between Palestine and Russia," he stressed.

    Two-State Solution Essential For Defeating Int'l Terrorism

    The end of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution is fundamental in defeating the international terrorism, Saeb Erekat told Sputnik.

    "Look what is going in the Middle East. All these countries like Russia, the US, France, the UK are not on a picnic there. They say that they want to defeat terrorism. You can't kill ideas with bullets. In order to defeat Daesh and terrorism you also need to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, end Israeli occupation and establish a Palestinian state side by side with Israel," Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said.

    On January 12-14, the PLO secretary general is visiting Russia in order to meet Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and to discuss coordination of efforts ahead of the upcoming Middle East peace conference in Paris.

    Paris is going to host the conference on the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Sunday. Israel refused to take part in the event saying that it preferred to hold bilateral talks directly with the Palestinian side.

    Palestine Liberation Organization Hopes for Trump's Neutral Stance on Middle East Crisis

    Palestine Liberation Organization expects US President-elect Donald Trump will maintain a neutral position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    "Yes, we hope so that he will be neutral but we cannot tell now as there is still so much uncertainty when it comes to Mr. Trump," Erekat said when asked if he believes Trump would stay neutral in the issues concerning the Middle East settlement.

    Trump said he "would love" to reconcile Israel and Palestine two weeks after he won the November presidential elections in the United States. Meanwhile he has made a number of pro-Israel comments, including his criticism of the UN Security Council after the resolution condemning the Israeli settlement-building policy in the West Bank.

    Trump also promised to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and picked South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is a strong supporter of the State of Israel, as his nominee for US ambassador to the United Nations.

    Palestine Hopes for 'Real' Russia-US Efforts to Solve Middle East Conflict

    Palestine expects that Russia and the United States will be able to unite their efforts to put an end to the decades-long conflict between Palestine and Israel, Erekat told Sputniky.

    "Russia is a country that has the Palestinian embassy and the Israeli embassy. Russia is a first state that said that a two-state solution is the only solution. There is no big difference between the Russian and the American, European or the African states' views on this issue. I believe there can be real efforts between Russia and the United States in the future in order to end this conflict," Erekat said.

    The PLO head said he would discuss a number of issues with Lavrov, including the upcoming meeting between Fatah and Hamas, the two main Palestinian political parties, on January 15-17 in Moscow, as well as Russian efforts aimed at Palestinian reconciliation.

    "We will discuss with Mr. Lavrov the upcoming meeting in Moscow of all Palestinian fractions. We need Russia to help us to reach our national unity and reconciliation. The third issue on the agenda is Paris conference. Of course, we also will discuss the whole regional aspects, Russian efforts in Syria that we fully support," the official added said.

    Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. Israel has been building settlements on the occupied territories despite objection from the United Nations.

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    Tags:
    Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Vladimir Putin, Saeb Erekat, Donald Trump, Sergei Lavrov, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine, Israel, United States, Russia, Jerusalem
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