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Abbas says agreement between Russia and US will help resolve Syria issue

September 24, 2015, 16:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW

If the US and Russia reach an agreement regarding the principle for a political resolution of the crisis, then movement towards improvement of the situation can start, the Palestinian leader says

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

© Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, September 24. /TASS/. Russia as a great power should play its role in resolving the crisis in Syria, but a political settlement requires agreement between Moscow and Washington, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday.

"There is an acute need for Russia as a great power to play a positive role in resolving the Syrian conflict. Russia is ready for that," Abbas told Rossiya-24 television news channel.

"If an agreement between the US and Russia is reached regarding the principle for a political resolution of the crisis existing in the region, then we can start moving towards improvement of the situation," he added.

Abbas said he believed in order to solve Europe’s migration crisis and suppress activities of terrorist groups, it was necessary to eliminate root causes of these problems: "to put an end to violence in those countries [Syria and Palestine] and promote peace".

"This issue still remains open," the president said, noting that: "If the international community really wants to stop terrorism and extremism, it should resolve the Palestinian-Israeli problem.".

Palestinian leader preparing to leave politics

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he was preparing to leave politics.

"I would like to drop politics but it is important for me to see current policy continue," he told reporters in Moscow.

"That is why at a next session of the Palestinian [National] Council I will bring up this issue and we will make a decision," he said after meeting the head of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, Sergey Stepashin.

Multi-faith Russia sets an example for the world

Mahmoud Abbas said that he hoped other countries would follow the example of Russia, where representatives of different religions lived in peace.

"We hope that all countries of the world will follow Russia’s path in the issue of peaceful coexistence of representatives of different religions, and peace will prevail," Abbas said at a meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

He said that he felt in Moscow as if he was visiting his friends "who also believe in peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians".

The Palestinian leader arrived in Moscow to attend the opening of the city's Grand Mosque on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Palestinian leader and heads of the Russian republics of Chechnya, Tatarstan, Ingushetia and Dagestan joined thousands of worshippers at the ceremony.

The building has opened after a decade of construction work to become one of Europe's biggest sites of worship.

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