Russian president meets Hamas leader before heading to Turkey.
By JPOST.COM STAFF, AP
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called on Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to free captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Kremlin spokeswomen Natalia Timakova said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.The two met in Damascus on Tuesday evening after Russia's president had held talks with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, and added Moscow's weight to a diplomatic push to ease antagonism between Israel and Syria.During the meeting with Assad, Medvedev warned that Israeli-Arab tensions threaten to draw the Middle East into a new catastrophe.The two presidents, meeting in Damascus, also affirmed Iran's right to develop a peaceful nuclear energy program, as world powers press for new economic sanctions to try to stop what they say is really a drive for an atomic weapons capability.Following his meeting with Mashaal, Medvedev headed to Turkey to oversee the signing of several cooperation agreements, including energy and the lifting of entry visas.Medvedev was set to meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul at a banquet Tuesday. His official talks are on Wednesday.Russia is Turkey's second largest trading partner and ties are flourishing.
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