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  Monday, October 21, 2019
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Russia is ready to hold a Middle East conference in Moscow,
Russia is ready to hold a Middle East conference in Moscow, but its agenda needs to take into account the latest events in Gaza, the Russian president said Friday.

"The events taking place now in Gaza show once again that such problems cannot be resolved by means of military force, but should be resolved through political methods, and Russia once again confirms its readiness to seek a political resolution," Dmitry Medvedev said.

"In this sense we would like to stress that we are ready to hold a meeting on Middle East settlement in Moscow, as has already been announced," he said at a ceremony for ambassadors presenting their credentials.

Afif Safieh, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia, said on Tuesday that the planned Moscow conference on the Middle East could be held after the Israeli election on February 10.

Israel launched a major military offensive in Gaza on December 27 in a bid to put an end to rocket attacks on Israeli territories from the Hamas-controlled enclave. Since the beginning of the operation, over 1,100 Palestinians have been killed, more than half of them civilians, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Islamist movement Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007, ousting the internationally recognized Fatah group of President Mahmoud Abbas, which now controls only the West Bank.

Hamas criticizes Fatah for talks with Israel, corruption, and repression of the Islamists' supporters in the West Bank. Although Hamas was blamed for the failure to hold talks in Egypt late last year, it has said it supports dialogue with Fatah and hopes for a positive outcome at direct talks.


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