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Abbas tells Putin he wants US peace role diluted

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday he could no longer accept the role of the United States as a mediator in talks with Israel because of Washington’s behaviour, the Interfax news agency reported.

“We state that from now on we refuse to cooperate in any form with the US in its status of a mediator, as we stand against its actions,” Abbas told Putin at the start of talks in Moscow.

Abbas was quoted as saying he wanted an expanded new mediation mechanism to replace the Middle East Quartet.

“For instance, ‘the quartet’ plus some other countries like the model used to achieve the deal on Iran,” Abbas said, referring to international talks about Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Abbas and his allies were left furious in December when US President Donald Trump reversed decades of US policy to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and set in motion the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

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