Fatah, Hamas, Other Palestinian Movements Confirm Participation In Moscow Talks

MOSCOW, Jan 11 (Bernama) -- Representatives of Palestine's key nine movements have agreed to take part in informal talks on re-establishing national unity to be held here from Jan 15 to 17, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Nafiz Nofal told Russia's TASS news agency on Tuesday.

"Among participants in the talks are Fatah, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian Democratic Union and the Palestinian National Initiative," he said.

According to the Palestinian diplomat, the meeting might help Russia come out with a new Middle East settlement initiative. He did not rule out that the Moscow talks "may yield a final declaration."

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister and special presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, said earlier that the problem of intra-Palestinian reconciliation is to be "resolved as the priority task so that the Palestinians present a single and united delegation at the talks on the final status."

He said that Russia fully supported efforts to speed up restoration of intra-Palestinian unity on the basis of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) and Arab Peace Initiative.

He added that Moscow maintained dialogue with representatives of the entire Palestinian forces, and especially Fatah and Hamas, in order to achieve the appropriate agreements.

In May 2011, a first meeting took place at a health resort near Moscow in an attempt to reconcile major Palestinian groups, including Fatah and Hamas.

High-ranking officials of key Palestinian movements arrived in Russia after Fatah and Hamas had sealed a deal in Cairo to form a Palestinian government of "professionals."

A split between Palestine's two major forces, Fatah and Hamas, occurred after the parliamentary elections in Palestine in 2006 when Hamas won.

In June 2007, its militants seized power in Gaza Strip and since then, Palestine has been divided into two parts: Fatah controls West Bank and Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

In a bid to bridge the gap, the two sides are looking at holding another election but so far no agreement on that has been reached.