Skip to comments.Russia's Lavrov meets with HAMAS leaders to restore "Arab unity"
Posted on 03/20/2008 10:11:03 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
DAMASCUS, March 20 (Itar-Tass) - Russia is making contacts with HAMAS to restore Arab unity and move HAMAS toward a common Arab platform, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Thursday, noting that he met with the HAMAS leadership in Damascus on Wednesday.
"We're making contacts with the purpose of helping restore Arab unity, with the view of moving HAMAS toward a common Arab platform, and with the purpose of implementing the "road map," he said.
"The necessity to restore Palestinians' unity is comprehended by an increasing number of countries, including those who earlier called for isolating HAMAS. We observe such sentiments in Europe and other countries. It's a realistic, pragmatic approach," the diplomat added.
In his opinion, the upcoming summit of the League of Arab States in Damascus is "a unique event, when all states get together and there is an opportunity to consider problems and find a compromise. The Middle East problems are so complicated that it's difficult to resolve them except at top level."
"We're hoping that everybody who is sincerely interested in breaking the impasse in the Middle East settlement, will not miss this opportunity," the Russian diplomat said.
Commenting on Moscow's bid to host a conference on the Middle East, Lavrov said "we haven't sent invitations" yet. "We're analyzing the positions of the potential participants in the meeting, and will make a decision shortly," he explained.
He reminded that "in Annapolis, all the parties agreed that they needed this meeting."
"An overwhelming majority of member-states are interested in holding such a forum in Moscow, in order to see if the efforts in implementing Annapolis accords are making headway. We'll proceed from these evaluations," the minister added.
Sergei Lavrov ended his visit to Syria by meeting with President Bashar al-Assad and Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa. On Wednesday, he signed a Russian-Syrian agreement on visaless tips for holders of diplomatic and service passports.
The Russian foreign minister left Damascus for Israel.