Bethlehem, West Bank – Putin Visits West Bank Praises Abbas For His Approach To Peace Process

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) clasp hands during their joint press conference  in the City of Bethlehem, the West Bank, 26 June 2012  Putin arrived in Bethlehem 26 June to meet Abbas during his tour of the Middle East. EPA/ATEF SAFADIBethlehem, West Bank – Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his Palestinian counterpart Tuesday for what he said was a “responsible” position in negotiations with Israel, frozen for nearly four years, and said Russia has no problem recognizing a Palestinian state.

    Putin also offered veiled criticism of Israel, saying unilateral actions — an apparent reference to continued Israeli settlement expansion on war-won land — is not constructive.

    “We talked about ways of overcoming the dilemma of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” Putin said Tuesday. “I point out here the responsible position of President Abbas and his endeavor to reach a peaceful settlement based on a two-state settlement.”

    “I am sure that all unilateral actions are not constructive,” he added.

    Putin spoke at the end of a visit to the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by his side.

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