Russia ready to host Israel-Palestine talks: Lavrov

Negotiations to reach a peaceful settlement long overdue, Russian foreign minister says

Russia ready to host Israel-Palestine talks: Lavrov

By Elena Teslova


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday expressed Russia's "readiness" to host Israel-Palestine talks to help settle the conflict between the two countries.

"Last year, we were willing to host the leaders of Israel and Palestine in Moscow. Now, we are still ready to host them when they confirm their willingness," Lavrov said at a meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization's Secretary-General, Saeb Erekat in the Russian capital.

Lavrov said the negotiations between Israel and Palestine to reach a peaceful settlement were "long overdue".

Chief Palestinian negotiator, for his part, confirmed the readiness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to attend talks in Moscow.

About the upcoming Mideast peace conference in Paris on Jan. 15, Lavrov said Russia would be represented at the talks by its ambassador to France.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly said the planned conference would fail to resolve the perennial Palestine-Israel conflict.

Netanyahu and Abbas both say they are open to the idea of bilateral talks but continue to blame each other for the lack of progress in the moribund peace process.

* Diyar Guldogan contributed to this story from Ankara.

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