Hamas invites Russia to play role in Palestinian affairs

Hamas describes its recent visit to Russia as productive, and it certainly covered a lot of ground. A delegation of the movement’s leaders went to Russia to keep Moscow in the loop on Palestinian-Israeli problems and the Palestinian quest for statehood, to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation and to enlist Russia to pressure the international Quartet to lift the siege imposed on Gaza and provide humanitarian aid.The delegation’s Sept. 18 trip to Russia “tackled the movement’s decision to dissolve its administrative committee [in Gaza] and called on the consensus government [in the West Bank] to come to the Gaza Strip and immediately perform its functions and duties amid the movement’s approval to hold general elections,” Hamas said in a Sept. 21 statement.Speaking with Al-Monitor, Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, said, “Our relations with regional and international countries and actors are witnessing an unprecedented openness amid cooperation on several levels.” He also pointed out that Hamas and Russia are no strangers, and their cooperation is “not a recent thing.”Russia has maintained positive ties with Hamas since the movement won the 2006 legislative elections in the Gaza Strip. A delegation of the movement’s leaders led by the former head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, visited Russia that year. Also, Meshaal met in 2010 with then-Russian President (and current prime minister) Dmitry Medvedev in Damascus and with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Doha in 2015.”We are ready to cooperate in several fields,” Abu Marzouk said. “Russia realizes that we are the most popular and organized Palestinian faction … and the only one which, regardless of the circumstances, holds regular internal elections at the leading, executive and Shura positions every four years.”Abu Marzouk also said Hamas wants Russia to become more politically involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, given “the US bias toward the Israeli occupation.” He said Palestinians need Russia to exert its influence on the Quartet, which consists of Russia, the UN, the United States and the European Union.”Russia is part of the international Quartet that imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip,” Abu Marzouk said. “This blockade caused great harm to the Palestinians, and it is up to Russia to [help] reverse the situation.”


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