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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Russian Federation
31 January 2006



Transcript of the Press Conference for the Russian and Foreign Media

January 31, 2006
Circular Hall, The Kremlin, Moscow

MOHAMMED AMRO (Al-Jazeera): Mr President!

After Hamas' victory in the Middle East there have been certain statements from the west threatening to stop or diminish the help they give the Palestinian population. Will your position on this issue change? And do you agree with the opinion that what is happening now in the Middle East is the failure of American diplomacy? Thank you.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It is a big setback, an important setback for American efforts in the Middle East. A very serious setback. I think that if we want to resolve these difficult global problems than we must only do so together and not invite the participants in the process to pull the chestnuts out of the fire, but rather sit down together and to listen to each other right from the beginning and to take corresponding decisions. Our position concerning Hamas differs from the American and western European positions. The foreign ministry of the Russian Federation never declared that Hamas is a terrorist organization. But this does not mean that we approve and support everything that Hamas does and all the declarations that they have made recently. We think that it is one thing when this political force was the opposition and trying to get into power and we know that throughout the whole world very often the opposition makes very radical statements. It is another thing when it receives the people's vote of confidence and must make sure that the people who believed in this movement feel the positive results of their authorities' work. And for this it is necessary to leave behind the extremist positions, to recognize Israel's right to exist and to have relations with the international community. We call on Hamas to do these things. In any case we would consider refusing to help the Palestinian people a mistake. 

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