A senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret trip to Moscow on Wednesday and met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Israeli media reported Friday.
Isaac Molho, a top negotiator, was sent to dissuade Russia from supporting the EU’s intention to present in two weeks’ time a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state, the Haaretz daily reported.
A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that Molho and Foreign Ministry advisor Daniel Taub used the visit “to present new Israeli ideas for re-launching the peace process with the Palestinians.”
The Moscow trip appeared to indicate that Netanyahu thought the Russians would prove more attentive to Israel’s objections, and could be persuaded to oppose or at least stall the move, Haaretz reported.
US President Barack Obama will next week welcome Israeli President Shimon Peres to the White House for lunch, at a time of intense upheaval in the rebellion-torn Middle East.
Obama plans to discuss US-Israeli security cooperation, the recent turbulent developments in the Middle East and stalled regional peace efforts at the meeting on April 5, the White House said.
Obama made the push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians a signature foreign policy goal but has seen his efforts frustrated, amid tensions with government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in late 2010 after the expiry of a temporary freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.
Efforts by Washington to coax Israel into reimposing a freeze collapsed in December, and the Palestinians are refusing to continue negotiating while Israel builds on land they want for their promised state.