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2 Aug, 2007 03:38

Mahmoud Abbas ends visit to Moscow

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has wrapped up a three-day visit to Moscow with a promise of support from Russian leadership.

“We believe Russia can play a big role in getting Hamas and Fatah to talk with one another. The Russian government is a friend and we trust the Russian policy. They can help our people and make a compromise between Hamas and Fatah,” said Talal Dweikat, governor of Tulkaram, Palestinian Autonomy.

But while President Abbas was meeting the Russian government, blood was being spilt in his homeland.
Many in Palestine fear that very soon the West Bank could become another Gaza.

Russian-born Natasha Abu Tafesh is afraid of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank. She moved to this the Palestinian village with her doctor husband seven years ago.
“I am scared of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank because then there will be war here like in Gaza.  The Palestinians are people who want to live in one country, Palestine,” confessed Natasha Abu Tafesh.

A few days ago 20-year-old Mohammed Raddad started his day in the same way he has for the past year. But the university student ended it in the cemetery. He had a bullet fired into his head when he tried to protect female students during student clashes at the university of Nablus between Hamas and Fatah activists.

Today his family is asking only one thing from Abbas' visit to Moscow – for Russia to do more.

“If Russia wants to play a role it is necessary for it to talk with both factions. You cannot solve a problem without talking with both, the Russian government need to meet with Hamas and take the problem seriously,” explained Husni Saleh, local resident.
There's no let up in Abbas' whirlwind of diplomatic successes. On Thursday he meets with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Ramallah.

But these are small victories when compared with the real challenge he faces on the ground.