World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli public radio quoted a senior Russian official as saying that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov planned to visit the Jewish state next week, during which he would meet with Netanyahu.
"The visit is aimed at raising the possibility of a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu in Moscow," the broadcaster reported.
A senior Palestinian official told Anadolu Agency that Abbas has expressed willingness to sit down with the Israeli prime minister.
"Recent months have seen vigorous attempts by Russia to broker a Palestinian-Israeli meeting," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.
He stressed, however, that the Palestinian leadership still insisted that Israel must stop illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and provide a timetable for ending its decades-long occupation of Palestinian land.
"As long as Israel refuses to stop settlement construction in the [occupied] West Bank and East Jerusalem, it is doubtful that talks will lead anywhere," he said.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Israeli settlement building on the land to be illegal.
Roughly 500,000 Israelis now live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel first occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
The Palestinians, for their part, want these areas -- along with the Gaza Strip -- for a future state.