Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh looks on as he attends the funeral of Palestinian Hamas militants who were killed in Israeli tank fire, at a mosque in Gaza City July 26, 2018.
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is heading to Moscow later this week for talks with Kremlin officials on the latest developments in the Palestinian arena and bilateral relations, Hamas officials said on Monday.
The visit, the officials said, comes at the invitation of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
On his way to Moscow, Haniyeh is expected to stop in Cairo, where he will also hold talks with Egyptian intelligence officials on the latest developments in the Gaza Strip, particularly Egypt’s effort to arrange a long-term ceasefire with Israel, as well as attempts to solve the Hamas-Fatah rift, the officials added.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki has also been invited to Moscow, but it was unclear whether he would meet with Haniyeh.
A PA official in Ramallah said that the Russians were interested in playing a role in resolving the Hamas-Fatah feud. The official expressed hope that the Russians would be able to “persuade Hamas to end the dispute”
and allow the Ramallah-based PA government to assume full responsibilities over the Gaza Strip.
On a speech marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas on Sunday, Haniyeh renewed his call for ending the rift with Fatah and said he was prepared to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas, he said, was prepared to do its utmost to achieve Palestinian unity, including the formation of a national unity government and holding general elections within three months.
Fatah responded to Haniyeh’s appeal by saying that any meeting with Abbas should be proceeded by a Hamas implementation of previous “reconciliation” agreements signed between the two sides.
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