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Moscow Cancels Haniyeh’s Trip to Protest Reconciliation Paralysis

Moscow Cancels Haniyeh’s Trip to Protest Reconciliation Paralysis

Friday, 11 January, 2019 - 06:30
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. File photo
Moscow - Raed Jabr
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Mikhail Bogdanov, the deputy foreign minister, and senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk have discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip during a phone conversation.

Moscow expressed “deep concern” after a long-running dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority over power-sharing worsened this week when the PA pulled its personnel from Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt. They were replaced by Hamas employees.

Consequently, the planned trip to Moscow next week by the leader of Hamas was canceled.

The January 15 meeting between Ismail Haniyeh and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was called off due to Lavrov's busy schedule, Abu Marzouk tweeted. No new date was announced.

The Russian Foreign Ministry did not make an official announcement on the meeting’s cancellation.

The news first broke out after Interfax news agency quoted the PA ambassador to Russia as saying that Haniyeh will no longer be heading to Moscow in January.

A diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat, however, that Russia has expressed frustration over the latest developments in Gaza, which paralyzed its efforts to push the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas forward.

"Moscow had high hopes that Haniyeh's visit would give the reconciliation an extra push," said the Russian source.

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