22:03 GMT24 February 2020
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    Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren stated that a meeting of Benjamin Netanyahu with Mahmoud Abbas may take place but without any preconditions.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) A meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas may take place but without any preconditions, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren told Sputnik.

    "The position of Israel is well-known: we agree to start a dialogue, but without any preconditions that the Palestinian side is trying to impose… Concerning the meeting: our Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he was ready to meet with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], not only tomorrow, but already today," Koren said.

    The ambassador noted that the latest meeting of the Middle East Quartet, consisting of the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union, was held in Jerusalem and the Quartet issued a statement which "satisfied" Israel.

    "Everyone should calm down," the Israeli ambassador added, answering a question on whether the situation around the Temple Mount could affect the prospects of the meeting.

    On July 26, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal stated that Israel should return to the state before the crisis on July 14, and this was the condition for holding a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.

    "When the first terrorist attack [before the recent crisis around the Temple Mount], an attack on our policemen took place, then Abu Mazen understood the volatility [of the situation], and there was a phone call, and then he seemed to condemn this act, expressed his condolences. About the settlement of Halamish, he said nothing already, on the issue that an entire family was slaughtered there, he did not find it necessary to condemn this," the ambassador noted.

    Back in 2016, the Russian president proposed holding a meeting of Netanyahu and Abbas in Moscow. Both leaders expressed their support for the Russian initiative, meant to facilitate the resumption of peace talks. However, in public speeches, they blamed each other for the fact that the summit has not yet been agreed upon.


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