Last updated: 12 January, 2012

Abbas to visit Britain, Germany and Russia

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will on Sunday begin a week-long European tour to Britain, Germany and Russia, his spokesman said on Thursday.

“Abbas will go on Sunday to London, and meet with Prime Minister David Cameron and other British officials on Monday and will brief them on the latest political developments in the region,” Nabil Abu Rudeina to AFP.

“On Tuesday, he will go to Germany and will meet with German Chancellor (Angela) Merkel and other German officials on Tuesday and Wednesday,” he added.

“On Thursday, Abbas will go to Moscow to meet President (Dmitri) Medvedev on Saturday and well as other officials.”

Abu Rudeina said Abbas would consult with foreign leaders on the exploratory talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators that have been taking place in Amman.

Envoys from both sides have met twice under the auspices of Jordan and the peacemaking Quartet, which comprises the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia.

The aim of the meetings is to kickstart negotiations, which have been on hold since late September 2010 over the issue of settlement construction.

The Palestinians say they will not negotiate while Israel builds settlements and they want clear parameters for any new talks, including an acceptance by Israel of the lines which existed before the 1967 Six-Day War as a basis for negotiations on borders.

The Israeli government says it wants negotiations without preconditions, but the Palestinians have stressed that the discussions in Amman do not constitute negotiations and will go nowhere without a settlement freeze and a framework for talks.

The Quartet has called on both sides to present their comprehensive proposals on borders and security before January 26, and the Palestinians have warned they will not continue with the informal meetings unless Israel submits its outline.