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Russia urges Hamas to stop missile attacks
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-01-22 14:40
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip and urged Hamas to stop missile attacks against Israeli cities.

Lavrov made the remarks in a Monday telephone talks with Khaled Mashal, one of the leaders of Palestinian militant group Hamas that runs Gaza Strip, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

The top Russian diplomat "emphasized that Russia consistently stands for lifting the blockade of the Gaza Strip and for easing the position of the Palestinian civilian population," it said.

"Simultaneously, it is necessary that the interested parties should make maximum efforts to stop terror, violence and armed confrontation, creating a favorable environment for the process of Palestinian-Israeli political settlement," said the statement.

"Rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli cities must stop," it said.

Mashal "focused on consequences of ongoing Israeli armed action and the boycott of the Gaza Strip and urged Russia to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip," said the statement.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided Monday evening to slightly ease the siege on Gaza and to allow medical supplies and a minimal amount of diesel fuel for the power plant in Gaza.

Israel decided last Thursday to tighten a siege that has been imposed on Gaza since mid-June last year, when Hamas took control of the coastal strip. All crossings leading to Gaza have been closed down.

Since then, Israel has been barring fuels and basic food products from reaching the Gaza Strip, in retaliation to ongoing makeshift rocket attacks carried out by Palestinian militants from Gaza against Israel. 

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