Moscow: Mashaal calls for end to aid embargo

Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal called for the removal of an international aid embargo on the Palestinians and thanked Russia for its support on the issue, Russian news agencies reported Monday. Mashaal, visiting Moscow, also blamed Israel for the lack of Mideast peace talks and urged international peace brokers to put pressure on Israel, RIA-Novosti, Interfax and ITAR-Tass reported. Mashaal's visit, the second by a senior Hamas delegation since the group came to power following Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006, followed unsuccessful Palestinian efforts to convince the international community to end the freeze on direct financial aid to the Palestinian government. "We value the position of Russia in relation to removing the blockade, which is causing the Palestinian people to suffer," RIA-Novosti quoted Mashaal as saying after arriving in Moscow.