MOSCOW, March 13 (Itar-Tass) - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrives here on Wednesday for an official visit, which will continue until March 16. This is his tenth trip to Russia but the first one as President of the State of Palestine.
Following the granting of the Observer State status to Palestine by the United Nations Organization on November 29, last year, Abbas issued an order on January 6, 2013, to introduce a new name of the Palestian autonomy -- The State of Palestine -- to all official documents. The position of the Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority was changed as well. The position is now referred to as "President of the State of Palestine".
Russian President Vladimir Putin is to receive the distinguished guest on March 14. The two leaders are expected to discuss key matters concerning bilateral interaction. When exchanging views on international and regional problems, the two presidents will traditionally focus on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, and on prospect of a resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process.
The previous meeting of the two leaders was held on June 26, 2012, during Putin's working visit to Bethlehem where a ceremony to open a Russian Center of Science and Culture was held.
Talks between Mahmoud Abbas and RF Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev are also planned. The sides are to consider the main orientations for Russia-Palestine interaction and map out plans for a further development of bilateral contacts. In furtherance of the traditional religious dialogue, Mahmoud Abbas will also meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and with Ravil Gainutdinov, Chairman of the Council of the Muftis of Russia.
Faed Mustafa, the Palestinian Ambassador in Moscow, announced that Mahmoud Abbas would travel to Cherkessk on March 15 for a meeting with Rashid Temrezov, Head of the Karachai-Cherkessia Republic.
Faed Mustafa told Itar-Tass in an interview, "Fine relations, historical ones, have developed between Russia and Palestine. Russia plays an important role in the Middle East peace process".
"This peace process is frozen now. It is time to find an avenue for headway," the diplomat emphasized. 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.