Russia's president arrives in West Bank

21:38, January 18, 2011      

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Visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (2nd R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas review the honor guard upon Medvedev's arrival in the West Bank city of Jericho on Jan. 18, 2011. (Xinhua/Fadi Arouri)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived Tuesday in the West Bank city of Jericho where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet him.

Medvedev arrived in the Jordanian capital of Amman Tuesday on the start of a two-day visit upon an invitation by King Abdullah II of Jordan, the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Upon his arrival in Amman, the Russian president headed to the Palestinian territories for a short visit and return to the Arab kingdom later in the day.

Abbas and senior Palestinian leaders received the Russian president and the delegation accompanying him in his first visit to the Palestinian territories.

The two presidents took the salute and reviewed guard of honor after Medvedev's convoy entered the city.

Before the Russian leader arrived, Abbas described the visit as "historical." "The visit highlights the Russian's position which is eager to see the Palestinians achieve their full rights by establishing an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital," Abbas said.

The discussions between Abbas and Medvedev will focus on efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

"This is an important visit as Russia is a member of the Quartet," said Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, referring to the Middle East peace mediators that also include the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Erekat said Medvedev's visit to the West Bank comes as Abbas asked his UN representative to prepare for presenting a draft resolution against the Jewish settlement.

Russia maintains relations with Islamic Hamas movement, Abbas' bitter rival which controls Gaza. Erekat noted that Russia had "played a role in trying to end the internal (Palestinian) split," adding that Hamas' inflexibility thwarted the Russian efforts.

Medvedev will go back to Jordan later on Tuesday and meet King Abdullah on Wednesday.


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