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Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's Just this Simple: You Cannot Trust the Russian Government

The International Herald Tribune reports more evidence of neo-Soviet Russia's fundamental duplicity, incompetence and malignant, valueless corruption:

Russia has invited a Hamas delegation to visit Moscow in the next few days, a Hamas official said Wednesday, just a day after Russia publicly embraced Hamas' nemesis, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The announcement from Hamas lawmaker Khalil al-Haya came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin told Abbas in Moscow that he is the "legitimate leader of the Palestinian people." But the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had no information on a visit by Hamas officials.

Al-Haya said the Russian government had officially invited a Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Mashaal, the Islamic group's exiled leader, who is based in Syria. Al-Haya would not specify the date, saying only the visit would be "in the coming days." Abbas has been governing the West Bank with a moderate government led by his Fatah movement since mid-June, when Hamas seized full control of the Gaza Strip in five days of fighting. The international community has thrown its support behind Abbas, while Hamas remains largely isolated in Gaza. In an interview with the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta published Tuesday, Abbas said Russia had to make its own decision about whether to maintain contacts with Hamas. "This is an affair for Russia as a sovereign state and does not create any problems for our bilateral relations," said Abbas, who was on an official visit to the Russian capital. On Tuesday, the Russian news agency Interfax quoted Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov as saying that "no personal meetings with Hamas officials are being planned either in Moscow or in the Palestinian territories."

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