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Abbas arrives in Russia on official visit as Palestinian president

March 13, 2013, 19:11 UTC+3

This is his tenth trip to Russia

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MOSCOW, March 13 (Itar-Tass) – Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in Russia on an official visit. This is his tenth trip to Russia but the first one made in the capacity of president of the State of Palestine.

At Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport, with a guard of honour lined up on the tarmac and the state flags of Russia and Palestine flying in the wind, an orchestra played the national anthems of the two countries. At the entrance to the terminal, two little girls gave Abbas a bouquet of red roses.

On November 29, 2012, Palestine was admitted to the United Nations Organisation as an observer. On January 6, 2013, Abbas ordered a new name of the Palestinian autonomy – “the State of Palestine” – to be printed on all official documents. The official position of its leader has also changed to “President of the State of Palestine.”

On Thursday, March 14, Abbas will be received by President Vladimir Putin to discuss key issues of bilateral cooperation as well as international and regional issues with a focus on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, and prospects for resuming the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue.

Their previous meeting took place on June 26, 2012 during Putin’s working visit to Bethlehem, where he opened the Russian Centre of Science and Culture.

Abbas is also scheduled to have talks with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the main aspects of Russian-Palestinian relations and map out plans for further development of bilateral ties,

Abbas will also meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Ravil Gainutdin, Chairman of the Russian Muftis’ Council.

Palestinian Ambassador in Moscow Faed Mustafa said Abbas would travel to Cherkessk on Friday, March 15, for a meeting with Rashid Temrezov, Head of the Karachai-Cherkessian Republic.

“Fine relations, historical ones, have developed between Russia and Palestine. Russia plays an important role in the Middle East peace process,” Mustafa said.

“This peace process is frozen now. It is time to find an avenue for headway,” the diplomat emphasised. The Ambassador said it is precisely the problems of how to settle the situation in the Middle East and items on the bilateral agenda that will be discussed during the forthcoming visit.

“We are contended very much with the development of relations with Moscow. Progress in all fields can be stated. Along with political contacts, economic and cultural ones are also developing. We also seek to find new avenues for the development of relations,” the Ambassador said. “There are many possibilities in this respect,” Faed Mustafa added.

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