Hamas leader: Israel must end occupation before recognition
Hamas' leader said Tuesday that his movement is not ready to recognize Israel. "First of all, Israel has to end its occupation of Palestinian territory and put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people," Khaled Meshaal said when asked about recognition of Israel during a news conference at the close of a visit to Russia.
"When Israel does that, the Palestinian people will make their position clear," the Damascus-based leader noted.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for international support for the power-sharing arrangement that Hamas and Fatah have reached earlier this month and for lifting an international financial aid blockade against the Palestinian Authority.
"We are pushing for all members of the international community to support this process and make it irreversible, including efforts to lift the blockade," Lavrov added, according to the AP.
"The Russian leadership supported forming such government from the very start," Lavrov said. "We have consistently backed specific steps which helped make this process successful, and we shall continue acting like that. The Mecca meeting was also important because it opened the way toward the resumption of the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel."
Meshaal thanked Russia for "taking brave steps to host us." "We highly value Russia's stance ... in support of the national accord between the Palestinians and lifting of the blockade," he said at the start of his talks with Lavrov.