Russian FM urges Hamas to reiterate power of Abbas
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday urged the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) to realize responsibility before the Palestinian people, restore reconciliation and reiterate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' powers, according to Xinhua.
"Mahmoud Abbas is a legal leader of the Palestinian people and head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). We insist Hamas to unconditionally share the position of the PLO," Lavrov said during an interview with the Moscow-based Vesti TV channel.
Russia is jointly working with other members of the United Nations Security Council and Arab League states on measures to stop violence in the Middle East, he said.
"We are convinced that direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis have no alternative," he said, noting that Syria and Lebanon should be involved in the process.
Israel kicked off massive air raids against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, while Hamas shelled Israeli territory after a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants ended on Dec. 19 and Hamas refused to renew it.
The death toll has risen to 345 and more than 1,600 were wounded in the ongoing airstrikes, according to Palestinian security sources.
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movements have rejected Abbas' call for holding dialogue to study the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip.