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Moscow to host Palestinian reconciliation talks on January 15

The talks in Russia would be held simultaneously with an international peace conference in Paris scheduled for the same day

TEL AVIV, January 2. /TASS/. A meeting of Palestine’s major forces Fatah and Hamas alongside representatives of other factions seeking to restore unity among the Palestinians will be held in Moscow on January 15, Wasel Abu Yousef, a PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) Executive Committee member, said cited by Israel’s The Jerusalem Post daily on Monday.

"The Russians will host a meeting of Fatah, Hamas and other Palestinian officials in Moscow in the middle of January to discuss reconciliation," Yousef said.

The PLO official added that the talks in Russia would be held simultaneously with an international peace conference in Paris scheduled for the same day, January 15.

"The Palestinian leadership wants to demonstrate that it is working on both the peace process through the Paris conference and reconciliation by way of the Moscow meeting," he said.

On June 3, 2016 Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the special presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa, at the first international conference on the Israeli-Palestine settlement in Paris called "the split among Palestinians" as "another negative factor hampering the peace progress."

"This issue should be resolved as the priority task so that the Palestinians present a single and united delegation at the talks on the final status," Bogdanov said at the time.

"Russia fully supports efforts on soonest restoration of inter-Palestinian unity on the basis of PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and Arab Peace Initiative, holds dialogue with representatives of the whole range of Palestinian forces, first of all Fatah and Hamas, in the interests of achieving appropriate agreements. We hope that such approach is shared by other members of the international community," the diplomat concluded.

In May 2011, a first meeting behind closed doors took place at a health resort near Moscow in an attempt to reconcile major Palestinian groups, including Fatah and Hamas. High-ranking officials of key Palestinian movements arrived in Russia after Fatah and Hamas had sealed a deal in Cairo to form a Palestinian government of "professionals."

A split between Palestine’s two major forces, Fatah and Hamas, occurred after the parliamentary elections in Palestine in 2006 when Hamas won. In June 2007, its militants seized power in Gaza Strip. Since then, Palestine has been divided into two parts: Fatah controls West Bank and Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.