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Russia Breaks from West with Hamas Aid Offer - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia said on Saturday it had promised emergency aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, breaking with fellow mediators the EU and Washington which have stopped funding to try to force Hamas to recognize Israel.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the offer came in a telephone conversation on Friday between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Mahmoud Abbas highly appreciated the intention of Russia, confirmed by Lavrov, to grant the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority urgent financial aid in the nearest time,” it said.

Russia is a member of the quartet of Middle East mediators searching for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with the United Nations, the EU and the United States.

The United States and the European Union have halted direct aid to the Palestinian Authority because it has not renounced violence, recognized Israel or agreed to abide by interim peace deals.

Washington has barred American citizens and organizations from most business dealings with the Palestinian Authority.

Israel has also blocked the transfer of customs and tax receipts.

Larvov had earlier criticized the halting of aid, though he has urged Hamas to meet the demands of international mediators.

He said the only way to make Hamas meet international demands was to work with it, not boycott it.

It was wrong to deny aid to the Palestinians “purely because in democratic elections they elected a government made up entirely out of Hamas members … we are convinced that this approach is mistaken,” he was quoted as saying last Tuesday.

Russia is the only major power to have received Hamas on an official visit since its landslide win in Palestinian parliamentary elections in January.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday the “unholy alliance” led by the United States would not bring down the new Hamas government and warned of grave consequences if it did.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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