Olmert downplays Russian FM's Hamas remarks

October 22, 2006 16:29


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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday downplayed the Russian foreign minister's observation that it was "unrealistic" to demand that the Palestinians' Hamas rulers immediately recognize Israel and disarm. Those demands, which enjoy Israeli support, were made by the so-called Quartet of international Mideast negotiators, to which Russia belongs. On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, should be given more time to accept these demands. "In the end, the policy will be set by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin," an Israeli government official quoted Olmert as telling Cabinet at its weekly session. In the meantime, Olmert said, "there is no change in the principles laid down by the Quartet and Russia," said the official, who took part in the meeting.

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