Russian leader meets with Hamas head


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Russia’s foreign minister met with the leader of Hamas in Syria.

Sergei Lavrov met with Hamas leader in exile Khaled Meshaal late Saturday night, while in Damascus to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Russia is the only member of the Quarter that does not boycott Hamas though there has been tension between Hamas and Russia in recent months. .

Lavrov told Russian television that Hamas is taking "a more realistic evaluation of the situation, the responsibility that Hamas feels not just for what happens in Gaza but for the fate of the entire Palestinian people."

He also urged Hamas to halt all rocket fire on Israel, and called for an end to Israel’s blockade on Gaza, according to reports.

Lavrov met Sunday with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who told the foreign minister that Russia’s planned international conference on the Middle East must be well-prepared if it is to succeed

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