The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that the leader of the Hamas political bureau will be visiting Russia next week to discuss reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told journalists in his weekly press conference that Khalid Meshaal, who lives in exile in Syria, "will visit Moscow early next week". He added that Russian officials will discuss with Meshaal the current mediation efforts by the Egyptian government to end the split between Hamas and Fatah.
Nesterenko said that Russia supports all such efforts and that it had maintained formal relations with Hamas ever since it won the 2007 elections and later took control over the Gaza Strip, despite the US and EU designation of Hamas as a 'terrorist' movement. This will be Meshaal's third visit to the Russian capital, having been there previously in 2006 and 2007.