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The visit by Islamic group Hamas to Russia had major political significance
The visit by Islamic group Hamas to Moscow had major political significance, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia said Wednesday. Baker Abdel Munem told at a RIA Novosti news conference: "Hamas' invitation to Moscow in itself, irrespective of the results of the visit, was highly valued by the Palestinian people. This is particularly important since the other side declared Hamas a terrorist organization, and is not establishing any contacts with it." "This other side, you understand of whom I speak, would like to punish the Palestinian people for its adherence to democracy," he said. Russia hosted a Hamas delegation in Moscow earlier this year, triggering an angry reaction in some quarters in Israel and the West. Unlike many Western countries, Russia does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization. The Palestinian ambassador said at the talks in Moscow that he did not rule the possibility of talks between Hamas and Israel. "Hamas holds a pragmatic position on this issue, and understands what is going on." Munem said that such talks would not be held before a new government is formed in the Palestinian National Authority. "After the formation of a new government, a new program will be presented, which will take into account the interests and conditions in which the Palestinian people live, and the conditions surrounding Palestine." The ambassador also said that the Palestinian faction Fatah is holding talks with Hamas on forming a coalition government. The radical Islamic movement is expected to form a new government soon following its victory in January 25 parliamentary elections. It has come under international pressure to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and meet commitments made by previous Palestinian leaders. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has stalled since Hamas came to power. Russia has been trying to persuade Hamas to meet previous Palestinian leaders' agreements with Israel and resume the political process under the Road Map peace plan.
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