Abbas rules out meeting with Netanyahu in Moscow

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he will not meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow, AFP reports.

Abbas’s denial comes after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is currently in Israel and met yesterday with Netanyahu, tells the Russian media that “contacts are in progress” for a summit in Moscow.

“Vigorous efforts [are being made] in all directions,” Bogdanov said.

The statement from the PA president also follows a denial of such a meeting by a PA official, who told The Times of Israel yesterday that Ramallah has yet to receive a response from Israel regarding Palestinian preconditions for talks — a commitment to a settlement freeze and the release of prisoners. These preconditions, the source said, would have to be met before any direct meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s office said yesterday that “he is always ready to meet with President Abbas directly and without preconditions.”

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