Beginning of Russian-Palestinian talks
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, It is a pleasure to see you.
It has been a long time since we saw each other in person due to pandemic restrictions. However, we have stayed in contact, directly by telephone and through our colleagues.
Our relations have very deep roots. You know Russia’s stance on Palestine’s problems and the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. It is a principled stance based on the fundamental resolutions of the United Nations and it remains unchanged.
There is no doubt here; we have always spoken in favour of a just settlement according to international law. In this sense, you can be assured of our position. This is my first point.
The second, of course, is that we are carefully watching what is going on in the region, and I am very happy to meet with you to hear your opinion on the situation.
In our bilateral relations, we have said many times that a lot must still be done for economic ties to develop more actively, and there are necessary prerequisites for this. Our culture and education sector is also well represented. Today I believe 650 Palestinian students are studying in Russia, and we are training them in various areas.
In short, it is a pleasure to see you, Mr President.
President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
I was looking forward to meeting with you. Of course, the coronavirus made it impossible to meet in person for a long time. I am glad that we were able to have telephone conversations once in a while.
It is good that we can hear your news and you can hear ours.
We always and unfailingly believe and know that Russia has a clear position on the settlement, and I am absolutely certain that it will never change. We know perfectly well that Russia stands for justice, for international law. For us, this is a dogma. We also stand for the fact that international law must be respected: this is not what I want; it is a norm that must be respected. We are glad that we have such a partner in Russia.
Of course, I would like to note that we need to intensify the work of the quartet on a settlement. It is necessary to step up its activity in order to help settle the Palestinian problem. We know that it is the quartet that should be doing this, and not someone in particular, for example, the Americans. You know of our position.
We do not want America to single-handedly deal with the solution to the Palestinian problem under any umbrella or pretext. It can be a member of the quartet and play a role there, but we will never accept it monopolising the settlement issue.
Another point that interests us in relation to Russia is the issue of training our students, specialists, including military personnel, and economic cooperation. We are glad that you are giving this due attention.
We are also quite in need of foodstuffs. You know what events are taking place on the global stage, but during our last stay in Russia, we were confident that this issue could be resolved positively. I mean delivering Russian wheat to us from time to time. You are aware of our needs; you know the format of this request. The question is about how to periodically carry out such deliveries. This would only add to our confidence that Russia has a positive attitude towards us and towards the settlement process.