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UPDATED: 08:52, March 01, 2006
Russian FM to meet Hamas delegation: report
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday he will meet a Hamas delegation when it visits Moscow early next month for talks on the Middle East peace process.

"The negotiations with the Hamas delegation will be held in Moscow, and I will receive them," Lavrov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying in Budapest, capital of Hungary.

Interfax earlier reported quoting Russia's special Middle East envoy Alexander Kalugin that the Hamas delegation, likely to be led by Hamas' political leader Khaled Mashaal, would come to Moscow on Friday.

At the talks with Hamas, Russia will "practically move toward the implementation of the decisions earlier made by the quartet of international mediators," Lavrov said.

"What counts most is to ensure continuity in the peace process based on the existing UN decisions and agreements reached between the Israeli and Palestinian sides," he said.

Russia is a member of the quartet mediating for peace in the Middle East, which also includes the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. The quartet has called on Hamas to renounce terror, disarm and recognize Israel's right to exist after it swept the Jan. 25 Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Source: Xinhua

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