debkafile: Hamas receives warm welcome in Moscow, offer of Russian friendship and Security Council backing – but no demand to recognize Israel. Eur

debkafile‘s Moscow sources report: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made only a mild request of the six-man Hamas delegation led by Damascus-based politburo chief Khaled Meshaal which arrived in Moscow Friday, March 3: “We are counting on Hamas, as the leading political force in the (Palestinian) parliament and future government to contribute to the full and all-encompassing implementation of all previous agreements.”
He added: “In this, our Palestinian friends can count on the support of Russia both in a bilateral sense and from Russia as a member of the Quartet of international mediators and as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.”
This is interpreted as an offer not only of Russian friendship, but the protection of its veto power at the Security Council against Israeli complaints of Hamas terrorist activity.
But Lavrov made no comment on Mohammed Nazzal’s declaration on arrival: “We will not recognize Israel. The issue of recognition is a done issue.”
Our sources note that the Russians, in an edited account of the conversation to the media, claimed they had told their Palestinian visitors that they expected Hamas “to recognize Israel’s right to exist” – not quite the same as recognizing Israel. It is therefore not surprising that the Hamas leaders came out of their first day in Moscow beaming broadly.
Jerusalem, in contrast, has every reason for disquiet, although no official Israeli rebuke has been delivered to the Kremlin. The future heads of the Palestinian government have another two days of their official visit to the Russian capital and there are already signs of the Kremlin’s rapid adjustment to the new masters.
The erosion of the Middle East Quartet’s demands of Hamas – to recognize Israel renounce terror, disarm and acceptance make good on international accords – is advancing rapidly. Moscow as a member of the Quartet has led the way for international acceptance of an organization listed as terrorist and responsible for 60 suicide attacks on Israelis.
Europe is on Moscow’s heels.
An unannounced arrival in Moscow Friday was European Parliament Secretary Terry Davis. He explained obscurely at a news conference that he was there to “represent Europe” for the Hamas visit. debkafile‘s sources ask: Is he representing every single EU member – or perhaps only its foreign affairs executive Javier Solana, who wants to get in on the Russian action?
Davis also announced he was not ruling out Hamas being invited to European Council headquarters in Strasbourg.
debkafile‘s diplomatic sources note that the only voice raised in protest against the Hamas-Russian assignation was that of Chechen rebel leader Movladi Udugov. He denounced the Palestinian terrorists for shaking hands covered in the blood of hundreds of thousands of Chechens and tens of thousands of Chechen children.

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