Interview with Vyacheslav Matuzov

Vyacheslav Matuzov, the Chairman of the Russia-Palestine business co-operation and friendship Society, commented for Russia Today on ways of finding a solution to the current Palestinian crisis.

Russia Today: What role can Russia play in mediating between Hamas and Fatah?

Vyacheslav Matuzov: I think that among the quartet, among the UN, the U.S., the EU and the Chief mediator of the quartet Tony Blair Russia has a privilege in negotiations, in settling this dispute between Fatah and Hamas because Russia has established good relations, friendly relations with Hamas by arranging a visit of Hamas delegation to Moscow last year and their meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and discussions with other Russian organisations on the issue of dispute with Fatah. So, Russia has a full opportunity to co-operate with both sides of the conflict. But the question is, to my opinion it is the main question, that neither Russia nor any other single state or any other single part or quartet is able to solve this issue because the main problem is that only joint efforts can give good positive results. If Russia tries to make these steps alone, without co-ordination with other members of the quartet, I do not expect any positive movement in this direction. We have met with Mahmoud Abbas. Yesterday the delegation of our friendship society met for one hour and a half with Mahmoud Abbas. And as we concluded from the conversation with him, Mahmoud Abbas and the leadership of Fatah are ready to co-operate with Hamas – not with the whole Hamas, because Hamas is different inside itself, but with those who are patriotic, as he said, and not with those anarchists who killed activists of Fatah. First of all, this case should be regarded and judged properly and after that Fatah is ready to co-operate but acknowledgement of all mistakes, of all faults that was made by Hamas in Gaza Strip which should be settled before.

RT: So you are saying it is a very much complicated issue, it is really hard to achieve a compromise. So, if no compromise is made – what will Palestine face then?

V.M.: I do not think that the Hamas government in Gaza, as they say, has any future because common knowledge is that Mahmoud Abbas is a legitimate leader of the Palestinian people, he is recognised by the UN, UN Security Council, in Russia, in Moscow he has an embassy and so on. I think there are no two governments in Palestine, there is only one government and Hamas has to find its place in the framework of the PLO, Palestinian Liberation Organisation, as a part of common movement, but not as a ruler dictating its rules to the Palestinian people. I think this is a principle question and I think in this point we should find common language with the U.S., because what is troubling me is a trip right now of Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates to the Middle East and their declarations on the mass selling of weaponry to the Middle East countries, for tens of billions of dollars. If it means a new course for settling the Middle East issue I think that militarization of this issue is a wrong path. We should find, first of all, the right language, the right co-ordinated position with the U.S.