Russia supports Abbas as Palestinian leader

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is seeking Russian support in his conflict with Hamas, that it supports him. "We firmly support you as leader of the entire Palestinian people," Lavrov told Abbas, making his first trip to Russia since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. Abbas, who arrived Sunday in Moscow, was also slated to meet with President Vladimir Putin during his three-day trip. The daily newspaper Kommersant reported that Abbas hoped to persuade Putin to give full support to his Fatah movement.