Russia unaware of Hamas invitation

After Putin embraces Abbas's leadership, Hamas says Mashaal invited to Moscow.

August 1, 2007 09:53
Russia unaware of Hamas invitation

Mashaal 298.88. (photo credit: AP)


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The Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it was unaware of a reported invitation for a Hamas delegation to visit Moscow . A Hamas official had claimed that Russia had invited a the delegation to visit in the next few days. The announcement from Hamas lawmaker Khalil al-Haya came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin told Abbas in Moscow that he was the "legitimate leader of the Palestinian people." Al-Haya said the Russian government had officially invited a Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Mashaal, the Islamic group's exiled leader, who is based in Syria. Al-Haya would not specify the date, but said the visit would be "in the coming days." In an interview with the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta published Tuesday, Abbas said Russia had to make its own decision about whether to maintain contacts with Hamas. "This is an affair for Russia as a sovereign state and does not create any problems for our bilateral relations," he was quoted as saying.

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