Senior Russian officials yesterday revealed Russia's desire to convene a meeting between Fatah and Hamas in Moscow.
Speaking in the wake of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's invitation to visit Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said: "We have invited [Haniyeh] and he accepted the invitation with gratitude. [The visit] is likely to take place early next year. Now, work is ongoing to agree on a date that is convenient for both parties to form a delegation," Sputnik News reported.
Bogdanov hopes the planned meeting between Fatah and Hamas will contribute to the promotion of national reconciliation between the two sides, which have been engaged in a fierce feud since Fatah refused to hand over control of the government in the wake of Hamas' 2006 election victory.
"In our opinion, the priority should be the establishment of Palestinian national unity," Bogdanov explained, adding: "It is extremely important that Fatah and Hamas, together with other Palestinian organisations, meet and agree on the restoration of political and geographical unity."
"We have hosted [such meetings] on numerous occasions and are ready to once again bring them together in Moscow: representatives or heads and deputies," he added.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki has welcomed Russian efforts to promote internal Palestinian reconciliation, while Haniyeh said last week that he is ready to meet Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas "anywhere". Haniyeh added that he is also willing to arrange for a wide Palestinian meeting to agree on the national agenda for the future.