Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow June 25, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Russia is going to make an effort to advance the Fatah- Hamas reconciliation process, a Palestinian official said.
“The Russians will host a meeting of Fatah, Hamas and other Palestinian officials in Moscow in the middle of January to discuss reconciliation,” Wasel Abu Yousef, a PLO Executive Committee member, told The Jerusalem Post, clarifying that the members of the delegations have yet to be determined.
Russia last hosted meetings in May 2011 between Hamas and Fatah to bolster the reconciliation process.
Abu Yousef said the meeting will take place at the same time as an international peace conference in Paris, which is scheduled to occur on January 15.
“The Palestinian leadership wants to demonstrate that it is working on both the peace process through the Paris conference and reconciliation by way of the Moscow meeting,” Abu Yousef remarked.
Multiple international parties have unsuccessfully attempted over the past nine years to bring the two rival Palestinian factions together to end the political and geographical division between the Fatah-dominated West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Fatah officials hold that Hamas needs to relinquish its security and administrative control over the Gaza Strip, while Hamas officials argue that Fatah must end its dominance over the West Bank and permit it to operate freely.
Hisham Sharabati, a Palestinian researcher and analyst from Hebron, said on Monday that he is not particularly optimistic about the Moscow meeting.
“I certainly hope that reconciliation will be achieved and the division will be ended, but I do not believe reconciliation will happen any time soon,” Sharabati said. “There are political interests of the leaders on both sides that makes it difficult for them to move forward with reconciliation.”
Russia also recently offered to host a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow.
Both parties agreed to meet in Moscow, but no such meeting has taken place or been scheduled for the near future.