Putin offers aid to Palestinians

Published April 29th, 2005 - 04:28 GMT

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised on Friday to give equipment and training to Palestinian security forces and offered to help reconstruct the Palestinians' infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

 

Putin met for about two hours with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on the third day of his visit to the region. The two leaders focused on the Middle East peace process and Russian aid to the Palestinians.

 

The Russian leader told a joint news conference he would provide the Palestinians, whose infrastructure was badly damaged in more than four years of fighting with the Israelis, with helicopters and training for their security services.

 

"We will provide the Palestinian leadership with technical help, supplies of equipment and training," Putin said. "We want the cooperation to be completely open and not cause concern on the Israeli side, and we will resolve this together."

 

According to The AP, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa said Russia would provide the Palestinians with two helicopters. Talks on providing the Palestinians with armored vehicles will continue, he noted. "If we expect chairman Abbas to fight terrorism effectively, he can't do it with slingshots and stones. We must understand this," Putin said.

 

Speaking in Ramallah, Putin said he was satisfied with the results of his trip. “Work in such an important region close to our frontier as the Middle East is of paramount importance,” Putin told reporters.

 

“The international atmosphere and the efficiency of the anti-terrorist fight, which is of exceptional importance for us, depend on the method and quality of the solution of the Middle East problem,” he said. “So we are highly pleased with the discussions we have had in Cairo, Israel and Ramallah. We will continue helping the settlement process in the bilateral format and within the international mediating quartet,” he added.

 

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