MOSCOW, Russia — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that next month’s Moscow talks with Hamas leaders were aimed at bringing the militant Palestinian group into the Mideast peace process.
“We are counting on all this to foster progress toward a situation in which Hamas will be a legitimate, integral and useful part of the peace process in the Middle East,” Lavrov told reporters…
President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to the militant group, made at a news conference in Spain earlier this month, was the latest bid by Moscow to invigorate its role in Mideast peacemaking after years of taking a back seat to the United States. The invitation stunned Israel and other nations.
Hamas’s parliamentary victory prompted threats from the United States and European Union to cut off massive aid to the Palestinians unless the group responsible for scores of suicide attacks and designated a terrorist organization by many Western nations recognizes Israel and renounces violence.
But Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, told the Russian daily Izvestia earlier this week that cutting off international aid to the Palestinians would be “counterproductive.”
“In history there are many examples of radicals coming to power and adopting a more realistic and constructive stance,” Denisov was quoted as saying. “We all hope that Hamas will show sense.”…