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The Russian president continued his tour in the Middle East and left Jerusalem for Palestine and then Jordan on Tuesday. He had a cordial reception everywhere, as Russia’s role in the Middle East settlement cannot be underestimated, the analysts believe.
Putin had a very hospitable reception in Bethlehem, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. It was decided to name a street after Putin where the Russian Centre of Science and Culture was inaugurated on Tuesday. Later the president acknowledged to journalists this decision was absolutely unexpected for him.
“Dear friend, guest, who is close to the heart of each Palestinian, we are glad to welcome you here, on the ancient land,” President of the Palestine National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas was lavish with cordial words welcoming the long-awaited guest. Along with Russian-Palestinian relations the presidents discussed the peace process. “We also asked for help in the problem to release Palestinian prisoners, who have been kept at the Israeli prisons since 1994,” Abbas told reporters. “Relevant accords and agreements are in effect with Israel, but they are unfortunately not fulfilled,” he said. The PNA president confirmed to Putin that the only way to peace in the region is through the negotiations with Israel. He also supported a peace conference in Moscow on the Middle East.
Summing up the results of his visit the Russian president told reporters, “I had a feeling that the agreements are possible, in any case, I saw the desire to take reciprocal steps to Palestine from our Israeli partners, and the Palestinians want the resumption of the peace negotiations for sure certainly after the fulfilment of several agreements, which were reached before.”
The Jews and the Palestinians rarely come to terms, but the visit of the Russian president was taken with rare honours for a brief visit in both nations, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. Putin was given a hospitable reception, as few kings saw in the Holy Land, the influential newspaper Haaretz compared his visit with the visit of the Byzantine emperor.
Russia’s position in the world has changed dramatically in the last few years! the newspaper exclaimed. In the nineties Russia’s moderate attempts to keep an independent position on the Middle East raised mockery and contempt of the Israeli leaders.
The alignment in the Middle East depends from Russia, Israel and the PNA were speaking about it, though they meant the opposite thing, the newspaper went on to say. As a good bridegroom, who goes to two women, Putin was showed a moderate position and was keeping the balance, speaking on an even keel, but not impartially. Putin urged Israel to reconcile with Palestine, and even brought Netanyahu’s letter to Mahmoud Abbas. The letter contained Netanyahu’s readiness to meet and resume negotiations. Palestine was not excited with the letter.
At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Putin was welcomed as an Orthodox tsar by the patriarch and the chanting of prayers. Then Putin went to the Wailing Wall, noting again that Russia wants peace and the calm life for the Israeli Jews. “It was a visit of the peacemaker,” the Israeli newspapers assessed Putin’s visit in this way.