Advanced talks have been conducted recently in preparation for a summit conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas in Moscow this fall, according to the daily Yediot Aharonot. The paper reported on Monday that both PA and Israeli officials have confirmed that the summit is scheduled to take place in October or shortly thereafter, under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Abbas has personally expressed his willingness, in principle, to partake in a Moscow summit. However, according to Yediot, the PA Chairman still insists that Israel first commit to freezing settlement construction and carry out the fourth phase of terrorist prisoners release which was halted when Secretary of State Kerry’s peace initiative collapsed in 2015. Abbas also insists on setting a specific date for the end of negotiations and for reaching a final agreement.
Political sources in Jerusalem have told Yediot that when Netanyahu and Putin spoke on the phone last week, the summit plan was part of their discussion. But they stress that the summit idea at this point is “mere speculation, it’s too soon.” Still, the same sources say Netanyahu is willing to meet with Abbas directly any time.
On Wednesday, August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing PA-Israel peace talks with Abbas in Amman, and delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas. Since then, Bogdanov has met twice with the head of the PA mission in Moscow Faed Mustafa and with Israeli ambassador Zvi Hefetz. One of Bogdanov’s meetings with Hefetz was on August 24, the day of the Putin-Netanyahu phone conversation.JNi.Media