Abbas meets Putin in Moscow, voices concern over US decisions
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was in Moscow on Saturday to meet Vladimir Putin, just days after the Russian leader hosted Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"I'm glad of the opportunity to tell you about the contact we have had with your neighbours, and leaders of various countries," Putin told him as they met at the Kremlin, in quotes carried by Russian agencies.
"I know that the situation in the region is difficult and we are grateful that you have used the World Cup as a reason to come to Moscow," Putin said, adding that he was glad of the opportunity to discuss the problems facing the Palestinians.
Abbas told the Russian leader of his concerns over US President Donald Trump's decision to move the country's embassy to Jerusalem, as well as Israeli settlement activity.
"We are resisting attempts by the Americans to impose their decisions on the most sensitive problems of Palestine," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying in translated remarks.
"As you know, our relations with the US are not going through the best period in their history now. You also know that we have stopped all our contacts with the Americans.
"This is connected to the fact that they are trying to carry out the so-called deal of the century, and we think that the first step on the way to that plan was the shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem."
Netanyahu was in Moscow on Wednesday where the situation in Syria and Palestinian relations were on the agenda of his meeting with Putin.
Israel's military renewed airstrikes targeting Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Saturday afternoon a day after protests along the border in which two Palestinians were killed, one of them a teenager.
More than 220 others were injured according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Strip.
Pro-Israel US President Donald Trump will meet Putin at a long-anticipated summit in Helsinki on Monday.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss Syria, Iran and Ukraine with Putin in Moscow, the day of the World Cup final between France and Croatia.
A French presidential source told Reuters the discussion would be an opportunity for both leaders to draw their positions on the Syrian crisis closer.