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Hamas leader invited to Moscow after meeting Russian FM

August 3, 2015

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Islamic militant group Hamas says its exiled leader was invited to visit Moscow during a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister.

Hamas said in a statement that its top leader Khaled Mashaal, who is based in Doha, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Qatari capital on Monday.

It said Mashaal accepted the invitation 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 U.N., the EU and the U.S. have banned contact with the militant group that rules Gaza until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

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

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