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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Washington aware of Russia's Israel-PA peace efforts

The United States is aware of Russia's efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner has made clear.
His comments came at his daily press briefing on Tuesday, when he was asked about reports that President Vladimir Putin might host a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow.

“[W]e’re following it closely. We’re obviously in regular touch with the Israelis and the Palestinians and the Russians on this,” Toner replied.

“It’s up to the parties to decide if and where they want to do this meeting, but we would be supportive of any kind of effort to get the parties together to talks through some of the issues,” he added.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi recently said Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive peace talks that have been stalled since 2014.

Several days later, Netanyahu and Putin held a telephone conversation in which they discussed the peace process, among other things, though a Kremlin spokesman later clarified there was "nothing concrete" yet on a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu stressed again he was willing to meet Abbas, as he spoke at The Hague during a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Abbas, for his part, said during a visit to Warsaw that a meeting had been proposed for Friday but an aide to Netanyahu suggested delaying this, leading to it being called off.

The PA chairman has continuously insisted that any reboot of peace talks with Israel should happen within a clear timeframe and under international supervision.