MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on a three-day visit to Moscow will meet Monday with Russia's Foreign Minister to discuss the Palestine and Middle East situation following the recent outbreak of violence in the region.
The recent inter-Palestinian clashes saw the Hamas radical movement take control of the Gaza Strip from the president-led Fatah party, and left the West Bank in the hands of Fatah, which is backed by the West and Israel. The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is currently subject to a boycott by Fatah, the U.S, and Israel.
Russian experts believe during his visit Abbas will try to secure political support from the Russian leaders. "The main aim of Abbas' visit is to secure support from Russia and Russian diplomats," said Sergei Oznobishchev, director of the Institute for Strategic Evaluation and Analysis. "He wants to discuss how and who we will support in the Middle East - he wants to clarify the situation."
In an interview with the press in Moscow Abbas rebuffed Sunday allegations voiced in the Israeli Haaretz daily that he had considered establishing a Palestinian state and determining the Palestinian status with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"Before discussing the final status we need to solve a number of problems - security, the water supply among others - and convince Israel that our intentions are serious," the Palestinian leader said. He said Israel was responsible for the future of Palestine and described the "road map" for peace as a legal and political basis for the resumption of political dialogue with Israel.
Abbas also said he would not launch inter-Palestinian talks until Hamas had handed over control of the Gaza Strip.
A few days ahead of Abbas' visit, Lavrov had a telephone conversation with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, Abbas' major opponent. Lavrov reiterated Moscow's position that it would be necessary to restore Palestinian unity under the Palestinian leadership, while Mashaal said there were no obstacles between Fatah and Hamas in establishing a Palestinian state.
Yevgeny Satanovsky, head of the Institute for Middle East Studies, said against the background of the conflict in the Gaza Strip, Russia could act as a mediator between the conflicting sides. "Russia could play a special role, including that of a mediator in relations with Hamas leaders," the expert said."