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Bethlehem names street after Putin leaving him "at a loss"

The town's mayor says they want to show how much they value the Russian President. He says its an honor best reserved for the dead.
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The President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem, where Putin was told the West Bank town had named a street after him. Putin's reaction: "I'm at a bit of a loss." (PPO/AFP/Getty Images)

The West Bank town of Bethlehem has named a street after the Russian President Vladimir Putin, leaving him "a bit confused."

The mayor of the town, best known as the birthplace of Jesus, said the move was intended to show how much the Palestinians value Putin and the Russian people, according to RIA Novosti.

Putin was informed of the decision during a meeting with the head of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas during a two-day tour of the Middle East.

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"It was absolutely unexpected to me," AFP quotes Putin as telling reporters afterwards.  "To be honest, I am at a bit of a loss but there's nothing you can do."

He then reportedly referred to the European tradition of naming streets after the deceased and quipped: "I would like to live a bit longer."

Overall Palestinians were "jubilant" at Putin's visit, The Times of Israel reports, saying that the local media had dubbed the Russian leader “the great guest of Palestine.”

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