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8 Feb, 2010 15:24

US and Israel are stalling peace process – Hamas leader

On Monday the political leader of Hamas claimed both the US and Israel are holding back reconciliation in Palestine. Khaled Mashaal came to Moscow for talks on how to unite Palestinians and resume talks with Israel.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said at a news conference in Moscow on Monday that “We are doing everything to ensure reconciliation as soon as possible.” However, he thinks they are prevented from doing so for two reasons: the US veto on the reconciliation process and the specification of the text of the reconciliation agreement, prepared with the help of Egypt, as “some provisions were changed without our consent or even removed altogether.”

Overcoming these two obstacles will “open a way for reconciliation in Palestine,” he added.

Mashaal said that the position of Hamas has support from Arab countries. During his speech he also criticized the position of Israel, saying “Israel is doing all [it can] to put the regulation back and is taking actions to start new wars.”

At the end of the talks the Hamas leader said, “We appreciate the Russian position.” He stressed that “it’s important that Moscow is ready to cooperate with all members of the talks.”

Commenting on the event, political analyst Thabet Salem told RT, “It seems that there is an intention or at least willingness on the side of Hamas to sign these accords concluded in Egypt.”

Writer and journalist Uri Avnery said that Hamas is part of Palestinian reality – it won the Palestinian election and it would be stupid to ignore this fact, adding, “Peace is important, especially for Israel and Palestine. I wish for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. It’s not easy, but it can be managed. Hamas is the de facto government of the Gaza strip and Fatah is the de facto government of the West Bank. They must find some arrangements to appear together and have one common Palestinian front and one Palestinian voice.”

Vyacheslav Matuzov, president of the Russian-Palestinian Friendship and Cooperation Society, believes that “Russia contacted Hamas in order to bring it under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas.”

The talks in Moscow come just two weeks after Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas visited Russia.

The two factions split in 2006 with Hamas seizing the Gaza strip following violence a year later.

Russia remains the only member of the Middle East Quartet to openly talk with Hamas.