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US President Donald Trump offers condolences to Putin over plane crash

President Donald Trump spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the phone to express condolences over a deadly commercial airline crash that killed 71 people.

Trump offered Putin U.S. assistance in the ongoing investigation into the crash of Saratov Airlines Flight 703, according to a White House readout of the call.

The flight crashed Sunday near Ramenskoe in Moscow’s suburbs, according to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Six crew members and 65 passengers, including a child, were onboard.

During their call, Putin noted his then-forthcoming visit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to which Trump “said that now is the time to work toward an enduring peace agreement”, the White House said.

But the American president’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite Palestinian aspirations to have the east of the city as the capital of their long-sought nation, has left Washington ineligible to be the sole mediator in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, Abbas said.

“From now on, we refuse to cooperate in any way with the U.S. in its status as a mediator, as we stand against its actions,” said Abbas.

If any international event takes place in future, Abbas said, Palestine will be insisting to have a new mechanism in which the U.S. will be part of a group of mediators and not the sole mediator.

Other topics of mutual concern were discussed during the Putin-Trump call, including North Korea, according to the White House.

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