MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Unofficial translation from Russian
Transcript of Remarks and Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at Joint Press Conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Washington, March 7, 2006
Question: Do you think that other Quartet members should have direct contact with Hamas and what do you think you achieved in your meetings with the leaders of the movement? And also do you believe that funds should be given directly to Hamas after having your discussions with them on Monday?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: I cannot speak for other Quartet members. One of them is here, so you can address the question, not through me, but directly.
We wanted to talk to Hamas in order to make sure that the Quartet position does not remain on paper – and it was because somebody must start persuading Hamas of the need to listen to the international community. And we did so together with some Arab capitals which Hamas had visited before coming to Moscow. We conveyed to them our commitment to the Quartet position and explained that it would be in the interest of the Palestinian people for Hamas to accept the Quartet position. We didn't insist the Hamas did this overnight. I assume there would be more efforts to send the message to them. I hope this would not take too long. But we did hear from them that they would respect the authority and competencies of PNA Head Abbas.
We also heard from them that they would be ready to express their position on the roadmap and hopefully endorse the roadmap, as drafted by the Quartet, without any reservations whatsoever. They also stated their readiness to consider joining the well-known Arab initiative, approved on Saudi Arabia's proposal at the Arab League Summit in Beirut. And they assured us that the assistance to Palestinians would be spent in a transparent manner on social projects, as also on projects for the modernization of infrastructure and others. They even said that they would be prepared in principle to receive and install an international monitoring mechanism to guarantee that there is no diversion of funds.
As for Russia, we're going to be providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in line with our existing practice, using UN and IMF channels.
March 9, 2006