Russia to host 10 Palestinian factions next month, diplomat says
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Russia to host 10 Palestinian factions next month, diplomat says

Senior Fatah official says meeting in Moscow will deal with reconciliation, but will not be a negotiation

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Azzam al-Ahmad, head of Fatah's Central Committee and delegation speaks during a press conference at the end of two days of closed-door talks attended by representatives of 13 leading political parties held in the Egyptian capital Cairo on November 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED)
Azzam al-Ahmad, head of Fatah's Central Committee and delegation speaks during a press conference at the end of two days of closed-door talks attended by representatives of 13 leading political parties held in the Egyptian capital Cairo on November 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED)

Russia will host a meeting of representatives of 10 Palestinian parties between February 11 and 13, according Palestinian Ambassador to Moscow Abdel Hafiz Nofal.

“Russia will sponsor a dialogue between 10 Palestinian factions,” Nofal told the Voice of Palestine, the official Palestinian Authority radio station, on Saturday.

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad said that while the meeting, which will include Fatah and Hamas representatives, will deal with intra-Palestinian reconciliation, it will not be a negotiation.

“This dialogue will not be to negotiate the end of the division,” Ahmad, who is responsible for reconciliation in Fatah, told the Times of Israel in a phone call. “The Russians don’t like to get into the details of reconciliation. They didn’t invite us to talk about the crossings, the employees and so forth,” he added, referring to some of the major issues his party and Hamas have discussed in past talks.

Fatah and the Hamas terror group have been at loggerheads since 2007, when the latter forcibly ousted the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority from the Gaza Strip.

Over the past several years, the two parties have agreed to a number of reconciliation deals, but have failed to implement them.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, on November 2, 2018. (Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP)

In January 2018, Moscow hosted officials from Fatah, Hamas and several additional Palestinian parties to discuss reconciliation.

Nofal also said that the representatives of the 10 factions will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their visit to Moscow.

Asked if Russia was also planning to bring together PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in the Russian capital, Ahmad responded in the negative.

In late December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced that Haniyeh and Lavrov were scheduled to meet in Moscow on January 15, according to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency.

Haniyeh’s visit, however, was postponed in early January. Neither Hamas nor Russia has announced a new date for the Hamas chief to travel to Moscow.

In mid-December, Asharq Al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic daily, reported that Russia was planning to make efforts to assist Fatah and Hamas in achieving reconciliation, citing “well-placed” sources.

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