Date of Moscow conference has not to be announced – PNA’s leader

Other News Materials 19 April 2008 04:36 (UTC +04:00)
Date of Moscow conference has not to be announced – PNA’s leader

(DS) - A date for the proposed Moscow conference has yet to be announced, but talks have been under way with the US on the plan and Abbas earlier said it might be held in June.

Earlier on Friday Abbas met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The two discussed the proposed conference and the state of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abou Roudeina, told AFP.

Russia is a member of the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, along with the EU, the US and the United Nations.

Moscow has maintained links not only with Abbas but also with Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June and is considered a terror organization by Israel, Washington and the EU.

Moscow is providing armored cars to Abbas' Palestinian National Authority, while the Kommersant newspaper on Friday said Moscow was also ready to provide two helicopters and $10 million in aid.

Kommersant asserted Russia felt left out of the Middle East process and before Abbas' visit had not been kept abreast of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

"Moscow is practically ignorant of the current state of Palestinian-Israeli talks. The idea of a Middle East peace conference in Moscow is not receiving the necessary support," the paper said.

Peace talks have been weighed down by violence in Gaza and Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories.

On Friday Israel called for bids to further develop two settlements in the Occupied West Bank, despite international calls for a freeze on such activity.