Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on statements made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claiming that he had agreed to a meeting in Moscow but Netanyahu had asked that it be delayed.
“I am ready to meet with Mahmoud Abbas any time with no preconditions to engage in direct talks,” Netanyahu said at a press conference at the Hague with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “This is something which I have said hundreds of times and I will repeat it again and say here: I am not picky about the place—whether it is here in the Netherland’s or in Moscow is no problem. It can absolutely be in Moscow. I said this to President Putin and I also said this to the Russian envoy Bogdanov just yesterday.”
Anti-Israel protestors demonstrate against Netanyahu in the Netherlands
The prime minister went on to express doubt about Abbas’ willingness to meet directly, citing his insistence on preconditions as the main stumbling block to talks.
“The central question is whether Mahmoud Abbas is ready to meet without preconditions. We hear conflicting versions. Just yesterday Palestinian spokespersons said that they were ready to meet but that they have conditions—the release of prisoners—and they want to know in advance what the results of the talks will be,” Netanyahu said.
“If Mahmoud Abbas wants to meet without preconditions for direct talks I am ready any time. I have been calling on him to do this for seven years already and if he agrees to do so there will be a meeting,” he declared.
Netanyahu’s comments come shortly after Abbas said on Tuesday that a proposed meeting in Moscow would not be held for now.