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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le Hamas en visite à Moscou

by By Gaël De Santis

Palestine: Hamas on a visit to Moscow

Translated by John O’Neil

Translated Thursday 9 March 2006, by John O’Neil

Hamas leaders completed a three day visit in Russia Sunday.
The leader of the Palestinian movement, Khaled Meshal, feels satisfied with their diplomatic breakthrough, while the Bush administration seeks to isolate Hamas on the international scene.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, restated the so-called "quartet’s" demands - refering to Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union : to renounce violence and to recognize Israel.

Musa Abu Marzuk, deputy head of the Palestinian movement’s political bureau, explained its refusal : "I handed the Russian officials a blank sheet of paper and asked them to draw me the map of the Israel they want me to recognize. No one was able to do it." According to Marzuk, recognizing Israel with vague boundaries would be "dangerous for the future of the Palestinian people".

However, for Mikhail Margelov, the chairman of the foreign relations committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament, Hamas needs to become pragmatic in its relationship to Israel, and internally should opt for a solution similar to Turkey: a victory for Islam but the construction of a secular state.

This visit took place at the same time that the Fatah MPs asked their leadership not to participate in a government run by Hamas, which does not recognize agreements already made with Israel.

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