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    UPDATE: Putin, Abbas discuss Middle East settlement

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    MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during a telephone conversation Thursday for calling on Palestinians to be calm.

    Abbas highlighted Russia's importance in the Middle East peace settlement.

    "The sides discussed practical aspects of foreign aid to Palestine, including Russia's plans in this sphere," a Kremlin statement said.

    Abbas initiated the call.

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