Hamas's refusal to meet demands worries Russia

A Russian diplomat said Saturday that Hamas' refusal to comply with international demands could lead to a major military confrontation with Israel or to violence among Palestinians, Russian news agencies reported. Oleg Ozerov, Deputy director of the Foreign Ministry's Middle East and North Africa Department, said Hamas should heed calls by the so-called Quartet of Mideast peace mediators - Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union - to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist, ITAR-Tass and Interfax reported. "If Hamas is not persuaded to meet the demands of the Quartet, one cannot rule out wide-scale military conflict between Israel and Palestine or clashes among Palestinians," ITAR-Tass quoted Ozerov as saying.