Taking part in the meeting on the Russian side were Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Chairman of the Russian part of the Intergovernmental Russian-Palestinian Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation Maxim Topilin.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
It is a pleasure to see you. You are always a welcome guest in Russia.
I know that the situation in the region is complicated, but I appreciate it that you used the FIFA World Cup as an excuse to visit Moscow. We are happy to have this opportunity to hold consultations with you both on bilateral relations and on the situation around Palestine, near Palestine, on regional matters.
We will have a chance to discuss both bilateral relations and the situation developing in the region, as I already said. I am glad to have this opportunity to inform you of our contacts with your neighbors, with leaders of other countries of the region.
President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas (retranslated): Mr President,
Thank you for this opportunity to meet with you.
We are very happy to come to Moscow, especially now. In fact, the entire world is following the developments in Moscow with the World Cup. Apart from these sporting events, everyone has highlighted the successful arrangement of such a large-scale sports competition by the Russian Federation. This is the result of the efforts undertaken by the Russian side, the leadership of the Russian Federation, for the successful organization of this World Cup.
The hosting of this World Cup has already become an example of how such large-scale sports events should be held. In this regard, let me congratulate you on everything you managed to achieve – first of all I mean the World Cup – and these are not only my congratulations, these are congratulations from the whole world.
Relations between Russia and Palestine are truly special. We always find time to meet and continue the development of our cooperation. Our regular meetings help us discuss relevant issues at both bilateral and regional level. And we are always glad to listen to and receive benefit from your advice, including through your contacts with leaders of the countries of the region.
Today both our region and Palestine are going through a very difficult time indeed and I can say that there is another crisis emerging in Palestine. First of all, these are attempts and plans of Israel regarding new settlements near the village of Khan al-Ahmar, which is not far from Jerusalem, and this concerns us very much. This is a very sensitive problem for Palestine, we feel the danger, and thousands of people living in the aforementioned area have to be awake day and night to prevent the Israeli leadership from implementing its plans.
Israel’s settlement activity is a problem representing the biggest importance for us, as this is very dangerous. We try to use all possible means to oppose their actions. Once again, I would like to stress that the problem of the area I mentioned is extremely relevant for us today.
As you know, our relations with the United States of America are experiencing a difficult time of their history. You must also be aware that we stopped all contacts with the Americans. This is, first of all, connected with the fact that they continue trying to implement the so-called ‘deal of the century’ and we believe that the first step to implement this was the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Additionally, the Americans decided to remove from the negotiating table such relevant issue for us as Palestinian refugees.
Generally speaking, we are dissatisfied, we oppose the attempts of the Americans to impose their resolution of the most pressing Palestinian problems. This has resulted in the break in our contacts.