(February 13, 2018 / JNS) Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in an attempt to sideline the United States and strengthen Russia’s role as a power broker in negotiating an outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abbas told Putin during their meeting in Moscow that “we state that from now on, we refuse to cooperate in any form with the U.S. in its status of a mediator, as we stand against its actions.” The Palestinian Authority has refused contact with officials from the United States since President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December.
Abbas has been attempting to increase the number of countries involved in solving the conflict, while Israel has been leaning towards the United States. In January, Putin stated that he was “deeply concerned” by the U.S. administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem, expressing its belief that it would “block possible paths to peace in the Middle East.”
Yet on Monday, Putin informed Abbas that he had spoken to Trump just prior to the meeting, stating “naturally, we spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.” Putin then passed along a message from Trump, adding, “I would like to convey to you his best wishes.”
Abbas is scheduled to address the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 20, where he is expected to denounce U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel and call for the immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.