Abbas to meet Putin in Moscow next week
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Abbas to meet Putin in Moscow next week

Visit of PA president comes as Netanyahu also heads to Russia, now an increasingly central Middle East player

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on April 13, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/ POOL / SERGEI ILNITSKY)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on April 13, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/ POOL / SERGEI ILNITSKY)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Moscow next week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the opening ceremony of Europe’s largest mosque, an embassy spokesman told AFP on Friday.

“President Abbas will arrive next week to take part in the opening ceremony of the Moscow Grand Mosque,” Palestinian embassy spokesman Ahmed Muslih told AFP, adding that Abbas was expected to meet Putin.

The visit comes amid Moscow’s fresh diplomatic push to resolve the four-year Syrian crisis that has claimed more than 240,000 lives, with Middle Eastern leaders — including Jordanian King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — flocking to the Russian capital in recent weeks.

Abbas last visited Moscow in April, when he and Putin discussed bilateral relations, as well as peace and security in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also expected to meet with Putin in Moscow next week to discuss bout the deployment of Moscow’s forces to Syria and the threats to Israel caused by weapon deliveries to Damascus, his office said Wednesday.

Israel has also expressed fears that the nuclear deal reached between six world powers, including Russia, and Iran could see money freed up when sanctions are lifted being used by Tehran to bolster the arming and funding of Hezbollah and other terror groups.

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