Putin: No regrets for having invited Hamas

July 17, 2006 04:12

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that he had no regrets for having invited Hamas leaders to Moscow earlier this year. "It was a conscious decision to invite Hamas representatives and we don't regret anything," Putin told reporters at a late-night news conference. "One should negotiate not with those who are pleasant as a negotiating partner but with those who can influence the situation, those who can influence their own people." Putin faced some international criticism for extending the invitation, which he and his government had justified as a tool to help convince the extremist organization to moderate its stance. Russia was accused of having broken the unity of the Quartet, which had foresworn contacts with extremists.

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