Visiting the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Vladimir Putin says Moscow has no problem in recognising a Palestinian state.
The Russian President also praised what he called his Palestinian counterpart’s ‘responsible’ position on the peace process. Mahmoud Abbas wants Russia to organise an international conference to try to restart the stalled talks.
Commentators have interpreted other remarks by Putin as veiled criticism of Israeli settlement-building.
“Any unilateral actions before a reconciliation are counterproductive,” Putin said.
“Maximum restraint is needed and both sides must stick to their commitments.”
In Israel on Monday, Putin held talks with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Syria and Iran also on the agenda.
His Middle East tour will end with a visit to Jordan.