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Netanyahu rejects Russian peace summit proposal with Abbas

July 27, 2018 2:45 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2018 11:46 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected on Thursday a Russian proposal to set up an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Moscow, Russia with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hebrew-language news outlets reported that Netanyahu rejected the proposal explaining that "he is not interested" in such a meeting until the United States' Donald Trump administration reveals its Middle east peace plan.

Trump had previously referred to the long-awaited plan as the "deal of the century," in which formulation Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been supposedly involved.

Sources added that Netanyahu told the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, that he did not want to undermine Trump's administration and first wants "to make the most of the US proposal."

Lavrov said that the Russian President Vladimir Putin reintroduced his peace summit proposal in a meeting with Abbas this month; Lavrov continued to say that Abbas showed willingness to participate.

This is the second time that Russia proposes a similar offer for setting up a peace summit with Abbas after a previous offer in September 2016, which Netanyahu had also rejected.

Both Abbas and Netanyahu have stated several times that they would meet the other without any preconditions, but neither have ever materialized the meeting.

The last time Abbas and Netanyahu met for substantive talks was in 2010 but regional peace efforts have continued to be stalled.

Their last unofficial meeting consisted of a brief handshake at the funeral of late Israeli President, Shimon Peres, in 2016.

This followed Trump's attempt to jump start a regional peace plan that has been rejected by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and officially moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

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