Russia calls on Palestinains to pursue 'wide-ranging dialogue'

A day after Abbas' new Cabinet is sworn in, the Russian Foreign Ministry says it hopes the PA Cabinet will "normalize" the situation.

mashaal 298 with russian (photo credit: AP [file])
mashaal 298 with russian
(photo credit: AP [file])
Russia on Monday said it supported PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' move to form an emergency government, but called on Abbas and Hamas to seek a "wide-ranging dialogue" and avert a deepening crisis. A day after Abbas' new Cabinet was sworn in, the Foreign Ministry said it hoped the PA Cabinet would "normalize" the situation and allow for the restoration of humanitarian aid supplies. The move followed Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week. The ministry said Moscow expected the new emergency Cabinet of the Palestinian National Authority to take all necessary actions for the normalization of the situation, improving the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories and most importantly, halting the inter-Palestinian conflict. "This requires the establishment of a wide-ranging dialogue between all Palestinian political forces, including Hamas," the ministry said. Russia, along with much of the international community, has rallied behind the Abbas government, led by Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, an internationally respected economist. Moscow, which is seeking a greater role in the Middle East, is part of the so-called Quartet of Middle East negotiators along with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. Also Monday, the Interfax news agency reported that Russia would evacuate 120 citizens - mostly Russian women married to Palestinians - from the Gaza Strip. The evacuation will begin when Israel reopens the Erez border crossing with Gaza, Russian envoy Alexei Pogodin was quoted as saying. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the issue of evacuating Russian nationals with his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, by telephone. The two "stressed the importance of concerted efforts to prevent the deepening of the humanitarian crisis," the ministry said in a separate statement. "Restoring order in the Palestinian territories should not overshadow other tasks of strategic importance, including the goal of reaching peace across the entire Middle East," the ministry said.