Hamas political bureau chief Khalid Mish'al with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow in March (epa)
April 13, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling for what he described as a "fair and comprehensive" solution to the Middle East conflict.
Addressing a gathering of foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin today, Putin said peace talks should resume with a view to creating an independent Palestinian state that would peacefully coexist with Israel. He also vowed to help the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmud Abbas, reach this objective.
Russia this week said it would continue financially helping the Palestinian government, led by the radical Hamas group. It also criticized a European Union decision to freeze all direct aid shipments to the Palestinian leadership until Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel.
Russia -- a member of the Middle East Quartet along with the EU, the United Nations, and the United States -- says the best way to achieve peace in the region is to work with Hamas.