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Putin In West Bank For Talks With Palestinians

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with children during a welcoming ceremony in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on June 26.
Vladimir Putin has been visiting the West Bank town of Bethlehem as the Russian president continues a trip aimed at boosting Moscow's regional influence.

Putin was due to meet with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmud Abbas for talks expected to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which have been stalled for almost four years.

Russia is a member of the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators, along with the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations.

Putin's trip to the region began on June 25 in Israel, where Israeli leaders urged him to step up pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program, which Israel sees as an existential threat to the Jewish state.

Putin is due to travel later on June 26 to Jordan for talks with King Abdullah.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP