Ma'an News Agency
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Russia supports Palestinian unity efforts as a step toward regional stability, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavarov told Palestinian factional representatives in Moscow on Monday evening.

The statement came at a meeting with seven faction leaders, many of whom recently refused to appoint members to a new technocrat government saying they were being left out of the reconciliation process and would prefer not to lend it legitimacy.

"Russia has always supported Palestinian national unity and Palestinian dreams of ending the occupation and establishing a state in line with UN resolutions, the Quartet’s position papers, and the Arab peace initiative,” Lavarov said, lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi said.

Following the meeting, faction leaders released a joint statement saying they would continue to work for the success of the unity deal, and "defy all Israeli attempts to thwart it."

Russia's support for the reconciliation process, for which Hamas and Fatah officials are hammering out the details of a transitional technocrat government and the reformulation of the PLO to include Hamas, comes as the US calls into question the unity process, saying it recognized Israel's "legitimate concern."

On Monday Egyptian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yasser Othman said that under the unity agreement, Hamas agreed to uphold a ceasefire deal, which had been in place in the West Bank, and extend it to the Gaza Strip. This, and a unified Palestinian leadership, were key to the stability of the region.

"You are talking about a Palestinian state within 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, ending settlement activities, and return of refugees in line with the UN resolution 194. This is the same attitude Russian President Dmitry Mevedev expressed during his November visit to Palestine," Lavarov said in his commendations to the group.

The delegation in Moscow included Fatah's Azzam Al-Ahmad, Hamas' Mousa Abu Marzouq, the Palestinian National Initiative's Mustafa Barghouthi, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's Mahir At-Tahir, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine's Talal An- Naji, the Popular Front-General Command, and Bassam As-Salihi, the secretary-general of the Palestinian People’s Party.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017