Turkey, Russia call for talks with Hamas

08:39, May 13, 2010      

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Turkey and Russia on Wednesday urged for talks with the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas in seeking peace in the Middle East region.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul told a joint press conference with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that nobody should be excluded in negotiations on the Middle East issue.

"Palestine has been divided into two parts and should be united. In order to unite them, there is the need to talk with both parties. Hamas won elections in Gaza and nobody can ignore that," Gul said.

Medvedev echoed Gul's remarks, saying it was impossible to solve the problem with a division on the Palestinian side. All concerned parties should participate in the solution of the issue, he told reporters.

The call came after the Palestinians and Israel launched proximity talks sponsored by the United States earlier this month. The talks aimed at paving the way for the resumption of face-to- face negotiations that stopped in December 2008 and failed to restart due to a dispute over Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The United States has been reluctant to engage Hamas, which it lists as a terrorist organization, and has demanded Hamas to first recognize Israel and give up armed resistance in exchange for international recognition.

Hamas controls the Gaza Strip while its rival Fatah movement rules the West Bank.

Medvedev said the United States should be more active in solving the Middle East problem, while noting that Russia and Turkey hold similar views on the issue and could contribute to facilitating the process.

Russia's stance on Iran was also close to that of Turkey, said the Russian president, who called on Iran to take a constructive approach in the nuclear dispute with the West.

He said Russia will use all its resources and continue talks with Iran, Israel and other countries for a nuclear-free Middle East.

Gul told reporters he had agreed with his Russian counterpart to cooperate in regional issues like the Middle East peace process, the Iran nuclear issue and normalization in Caucasus.

Medvedev said Russia supports the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia and will continue the process of solving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute in Caucasus.

Promising progress had been made recently but challenges remained, he said.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to support Azerbaijan during their territorial conflict over the Nagorno- Karabakh region and has demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the disputed land.

"The partnership between Turkey and Russia is in the best interests of both countries," Medvedev said.

Medvedev arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday for a two-day visit to the country.

Source: Xinhua
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