Among the issues currently on the international agenda, the state leaders paid priority attention to the situation in the Middle East and the earliest resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, I would like to warmly welcome you.
Today we will have the opportunity to discuss the entire range of ties between Russia and Palestine. Our relations are long-standing, friendly and deep-rooted.
You and I have met several times already and now it makes sense to start the new year by comparing notes on how to develop a bilateral dialogue, how to solve a range of international issues and, of course, by talking about the most difficult outstanding problem, namely the Middle East peace settlement and current processes underway in the Middle East. I would like to hear your point of view which is very important to me in light of shaping Russia’s foreign policy.
I think that our meeting here in the mountains of the North Caucasus is very revealing. On the one hand, this represents an additional element of your knowledge of Russia, even though you have visited Sochi before; this trip you have been in the Republics of Chechnya and Daghestan and will also visit Tatarstan – this is very good, very good indeed. On the other hand, it’s also an opportunity to welcome you to a warm corner of our country — in Moscow it’s about -30C and the weather here is good: 0C, -2C. And this helps foster a friendly conversation. Welcome.
President of Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas (as translated into Russian): Thank you Mr President. We are truly happy to be in Sochi and benefit from your hospitality. Of course, we also want to share our views on all key issues of mutual interest.
The political process in the Middle East is continuing – it already has a long history but, unfortunately, at present we have not yet found a formula that would allow us to move the peace process forward and ensure its success.
Recently U.S. Senator George Mitchell visited the region several times. In general, the U.S. administration is making efforts to reinvigorate Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. We just met twice with Mr Mitchell, exchanged views with him on the current agenda and I would like to share our opinions in this regard with you, Mr President.
As to our relations with Israel, these relations encompass a large number of aspects and on some of them we have established and maintained normal interaction. This applies, above all, to the field of security, the economy, as well as day-to-day issues.