(dpa) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow Thursday upheld plans for Middle East conference in June, calling it imperative to "save the peace process."
"We have great hopes the conference will unblock the peace process between Palestinians and Israel, and that it will be the beginning of a comprehensive process to establish peace in the Middle East including Syria and Lebanon," Abbas spoke to Moscow university students Thursday.
The Palestinian leader arrived in Moscow Wednesday for a three-day visit culminating in talks with President Vladimir Putin and his successor-elect Dmitry Medvedev on Friday.
Russia, a member of Middle East Quartet along with the European Union, the United Nations and the United States, has long planned a conference analogous to that in Annapolis conference in the US state of Maryland last November.
Abbas said the Annapolis conference set a "road map" but added a second conference was necessary to "fufill these accords before the end of this year."
But Abbas also strongly condemned on Wednesday Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip that left 17 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers dead, calling for an immediate halt to Israeli "aggression."
Settling earlier doubts a Russian foreign ministry official confirmed Thursday that Hamas would not be invited to the conference in Moscow.