Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has once again been admitted to the hospital, according to Israeli media.
Abbas, 82, was hospitalized Thursday, the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper reported.
Likewise, a source in the Abbas administration had stated that the Ramallah-based leader had been sent for a medical checkup, according to Sputnik. Abbas spent more than a week in al-Istishari Medical Center in the Palestinian Authority capital city this past May, after being diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia.
However, the report of this week’s hospitalization was denied by Palestinian Authority “Ambassador” to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal, who told media on Thursday there were no changes to plans by Abbas to visit Russia on July 13, flatly contradicting reports that he was in the hospital.
“He is in his office,” Nofal said. “I just spoke to him. There are no changes to his schedule and plans to visit Russia,” he told Sputnik.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was, however, more cautious in his response to the news outlet.
“I cannot say,” he hedged. “If it is true, undoubtedly, we wish him a speedy recovery. The invitation will remain in force, it will be on the table, that is why I think that such a visit will take place once it is convenient for Mr. Abbas,” he added, when asked whether the Kremlin was aware of any cancellation of the visit in the wake of the Palestinian Authority leader’s alleged hospitalization.
Then again, it may also be a way for Abbas to avoid any attempt by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to organize a peace summit together with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, invited to meet with Putin at the Kremlin on July 11, during the final days of the World Cup matches.
The Emir of Qatar will also be in Moscow to attend the tournament, and likewise is expected to meet with Putin. U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart on July 16, after the final match of the World Cup has been played.