Russia-Hosted Palestinian Dialogue Will Not Conflict with Egypt’s Role
The three-day intra-Palestinian meeting kicked off on Monday in Moscow and will last through Wednesday.
Twelve delegations attended the meeting, nine of which represent Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) factions, in addition to delegations from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements. The pro-Syrian regime’s al-Saiqa was also surprisingly present, especially after reports said it will not take part in the talks.
Monday’s dialogue session was opened with a welcome speech on behalf of Russia by Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies Vitaly Naumkin, who was tasked by the Russian Foreign Ministry to manage the talks.
He explained that Moscow seeks to play a positive role in bridging the divide between the Palestinian factions, stressing that his country does not intend to interfere in Palestinian affairs. It instead aims at providing a platform where all parties are free to discuss pending issues.
His statements seemed aimed at easing fears that Moscow is seeking to play a role parallel to Egyptian efforts to push forward Palestinian reconciliation.
This was confirmed by all the participating delegations, who pointed out that “the Palestinian dialogue in Moscow is an integral part of the Egyptian role, not a substitute for it.”
Head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)’s delegation Fahd Suleiman told Asharq Al-Awsat that the main purpose of the meeting is to dispel the hostile atmosphere and break the deadlock among various factions, especially Fatah and Hamas, especially since the last meeting in this regard was held in November 2017.
Suleiman stressed that holding the dialogue is in itself “a positive step,” noting that that all factions agreed to issue a joint document, the "Moscow Declaration".
The statement outlines common issues of agreement and will help Russia bolster its involvement in political activity related to developments in the Palestinian file.
He also said that it requests Russia to “inform the international community, including the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, of the outcomes of the Palestinian meeting in Moscow.”
In addition, Suleiman stressed that the Russian role does not conflict with Egypt’s.
He said Russia will be able to play a more active role on the political level, while Cairo will go beyond that and focus on active mechanisms to implement agreements.