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Senior Russian diplomat and Hamas delegation hold talks in Moscow

September 19, 18:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Hamas believes that Russia may play a role of stepping up efforts on achieving a unity in Palestine

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MOSCOW, September 19. /TASS/. Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has held a meeting with a Hamas delegation led by member of the organization’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzook, which is currently on a visit to Moscow.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the parties exchanged views on the Middle East issue focusing on the situation in Palestine, including the Gaza Strip. The Hamas delegation members clarified "their approach towards the need to overcome the Palestinian split as soon as possible," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, pointing out that following the September 17 talks with the Egyptian authorities, Hamas had adopted a statement "dissolving the so-called administrative committee, calling on the National Unity Government to spread its power to the Gaza Strip, supporting the plan to hold general election in Palestine and expressing willingness to resume dialogue with Fatah."

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that Moscow welcomed the statement made by Hamas "as a right step in accordance with the moderate political program of the organization, issued on May 1, which particularly supports the task of establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and achieving Palestinian unity."

"Russia has always been supporting the idea of Palestinians uniting on the basis of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Arab Peace Initiative, as it is the necessary condition for implementing the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for creating their own independent state in line with international law," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"We intend to continue our attempts to support the Palestinian people in order to improve the dire social and economic situation in the Gaza Strip," the statement adds.

Hamas believes that Russia may play a role of stepping up efforts on achieving a unity in Palestine, Abu Marzook said on Tuesday.

"During the contacts in Moscow, we discussed all issues, including the Palestinian unity," Marzook said. "Russia is one of the most important countries, having ties with all Palestinians and may give impetus to solving the issue of Palestinian unity. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has voiced support for the unity of Palestinians several times."

A representative of Hamas political bureau Sami Hater said relations between the Palestinian group and Russia "are at a new stage." "Russia may take positive steps for achieving inter-Palestinian unity," he said.

Hamas is ready to discuss issues concerning the national unity government as it believes that the government should get to work without any preconditions.

"We have put forward our own document [on the national reconciliation - TASS], it is very important because it may help restore Palestinian unity," he said. "The administrative committee [established in Gaza early in the year - TASS] has been dissolved, we are now talking about holding elections. There is a need to invite Palestinian movements to gather and start discussions," Marzook said.

According to him, Hamas is expecting Fatah to respond to its proposals. "We hope to see some real steps. The government should get to work without any preconditions," he noted. "We are currently making efforts to overcome disagreements and we are willing to discuss issues concerning the national unity government," the senior Hamas member added.

According to Hamas Spokesman Husam Badran, the government will help the Palestinians determine a single political position. "Our people need it, we are even ready to make concessions," he said.

Some progress in overcoming Palestinian split has been made last week, when Egyptian intelligence held separate talks in Cairo with a Hamas delegation and Fatah envoys. Following the talks, Hamas adopted a statement announcing a number of decisions which are expected to pave the way for a direct dialogue between the opposing sides. In particular, Hamas dissolved the so-called administrative committee, called on the National Unity Government to spread its power to the Gaza Sector and expressed support for the plan to hold a general election in Palestine.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has held a meeting with a Hamas delegation led by Mousa Abu Marzook, which is currently on a visit to Moscow. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the parties exchanged views on the Middle East issue focusing on the situation in Palestine, including the Gaza Sector.

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