Report: Russia calls for lifting Hamas blockade

A senior Russian diplomat called on Tuesday for the lifting of the international blockade of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, the Interfax news agency reported. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov said that Moscow would use a meeting of international mediators in Washington later this week to press for the lifting of economic sanctions. "Russia has always argued against the blockade and we expect the Quartet to listen to our view," Interfax quoted him as saying. On the weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Iran and Syria - both countries viewed with hostility by the United States - should be included in any regional peace initiatives.