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Russia opposes P.A. embargo

Russia pledged to try to end a Western aid blockade on the Palestinian Authority. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia saw the recent power-sharing pact between the governing Hamas terrorist group and the more moderate Fatah movement as reason enough to restore Western donor aid. “We strive for the international community to support this process and make it irreversible, including efforts to help lift the blockade,” Lavrov said after hosting Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Moscow. Russia belongs to the diplomatic Quartet overseeing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. The Quartet imposed the blockade on direct aid last year in a bid to soften Hamas’ hard line against Israel, instead routing aid to the Palestinians around the P.A. government. Russia has since parted with its Quartet partners by engaging Hamas diplomatically and coming out against the embargo.