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Hamas leaders’ trip to Russia postponed

January 11, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya (R) shakes hands with Russia’s representative in the Palestinian territories Alexei Pogodin, at his offices in Gaza City 22 March 2007 [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images]

A planned visit by Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh to Moscow has been postponed indefinitely due to the Russian foreign minister’s “busy schedule”, a tweet by a senior official in the movement said yesterday.

Hamas’ Deputy Leader Mousa Abu Marzouk wrote in a tweet: “In a telephone conversation with Mr. Mikhail Bogdanov, [Russian] President Putin’s envoy for peace and deputy foreign minister, we discussed the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, stressing Russia’s firm stance on our national cause and postponing the visit of the head of the movement because of the foreign minister’s busy schedule.”

Haniyeh had been due to travel to Russia via Egypt for the 15 January meeting.

The cancellation was first reported by Russia’s Interfax news agency, which cited information from the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador who said that the PA had notified Moscow of its opposition to Haniyeh’s scheduled visit which it said was an effort to increase divisions between Palestinian factions.

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“We have told the Russians that we’re not happy with the invitation of Haniyeh,” a PA official told the Jerusalem Post at the time. “Haniyeh is the leader of a Palestinian group that staged a coup against the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip in 2007. He does not hold any official position in the Palestinian leadership.”

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said: “In our view, it is extremely important that Fatah and Hamas, together with other Palestinian organisations, meet and agree on the restoration of political and geographical unity.”