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Abbas seeks $1-billion Gaza deal with Russia
Published Thursday 23/01/2014 (updated) 24/01/2014 20:34
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Palestinian leader
Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting at Putin's Novo-Ogaryovo residence
outside Moscow, on Jan. 23, 2014 (Ria-Novosti Pool/AFP Mikhail Metzel)
MOSCOW (AFP) - Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas sought on Thursday to secure a billion-dollar Gaza energy deal during talks with Russian leaders aimed at restoring warmer ties between the two Soviet-era allies.

Abbas and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were due to sign an intergovernmental agreement that reports said included a $1.0-billion (730-million-euro) natural gas project in the Gaza section of the Mediterranean Sea.

The state ITAR-TASS news agency said Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom hoped to produce 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas at the site.

The report added that Russia's Technopromexport engineering firm was also considering a small oil development project near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

It was not immediately clear how far negotiations on the two deals had progressed or when the projects might be launched.

Moscow has been a close Palestinian ally since the Soviet era. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also called for the establishment of east Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

Abbas began his Moscow visit by holding talks with Putin at which he called Russia a "great power" that deserved to play a more prominent role the volatile Middle East region.

"We are glad that Russia is an active and influential player on the international arena," Russian news agencies quoted Abbas as telling the Kremlin chief at his suburban Moscow residence.

"We are in favor of Russia playing a central role in the Middle East because it is a great power."

Russia has more recently developed close ties with Israel but has seen its role in stuttering Middle East peace negotiations largely overtaken by the United States.

Abbas was also due on Friday to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
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1 ) Give Me / More
24/01/2014 00:10
Putin is not as stupid as US and EU to give thieves like Abbas & Sons $1B.

2 ) shirley / australia
24/01/2014 12:04
putin isnt giving abbass a billion he is signing a gas deal just like all soverign countries are entitled to dothe billion is to develop the feild which is leased sounds like isreal schemes to control pal recources and borders are failing as this would lead to gaza not being dependant on egypt and would break isreals sea blockade the main reason us caused the coup in gaza was to strangle gaza will putin stab pals in the back it is russia right to set up joint projects with pals

3 ) Greg / UKR
24/01/2014 16:17
Everybody knows that $1B which Putin going to give PA will go straight to Abbas accounts in the Swiss banks. It is laughable to suggest that somehow those money can be used to develop gasfield in Gaza - everybody knows that Abbas is prohibited from visiting Gaza during last 8 years, his house in Gaza was looted long time ago by Hamas thugs. If Abbas dares to show up in Gaza, Hamas militants will push him from the roof top, just like they did to other Fatah members. He will die unless he can fly

4 ) Rachamim Dwek / Israel
25/01/2014 08:37
Putin knows that Abbas has no sovereign rights and as such cant legally sign anything having to do with exploitation of natural resources. It is all smoke and mirrors.

5 ) Outlier / USA
25/01/2014 20:02
Yup, for assets it does not control.
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