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Lavrov Invites Hamas Leader To Moscow

Hamas says its exiled leader has been invited to visit Moscow.

In a statement, Hamas said the invitation was made when its top leader Khaled Mashaal met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Qatari capital of Doha on August 3.

It said Mashaal, who is based in Doha, accepted the offer but that no date was set.

Moscow confirmed the meeting and the invitation.

Unlike other members of the so-called quartet of Mideast mediators, Russia has not shunned Hamas.

The United Nations, European Union, and the United States have banned contact with the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

Mashaal has met Lavrov twice before in Russia, in 2007 and 2010.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP