US welcomes Russian support for Quartet

The State Department on Tuesday welcomed a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry encouraging the emerging Palestinian Authority national unity government to abide by the international Quartet standards. Spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States saw the Monday statement as positive. He said he had not seen a followup statement on Tuesday by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in which he called for international support for a power-sharing arrangement that Hamas and Fatah have worked out and for lifting an international financial aid blockade against the Palestinian Authority. Lavrov commented during a visit to Moscow Hamas's supreme leader Khaled Mashaal. When informed of Lavrov's comment, McCormack replied that the Russian government has signed up to the Quartet statement on several occasions in recent weeks. "Individual states will have their own views concerning Hamas," McCormack said. "What is the operative and guiding statement is the Quartet statement."