06MOSCOW1840, RUSSIAN DFM SALTANOV ON HAMAS VISIT TO MOSCOW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW1840 2006-02-27 16:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO0340
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1840 0581606
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271606Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1261
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001840 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN DFM SALTANOV ON HAMAS VISIT TO MOSCOW 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 1638 
 
     B. MOSCOW 1323 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1. (C)  On February 27 the Ambassador called on Deputy 
Foreign Minister Aleksandr Saltanov to discuss the upcoming 
Hamas visit to Moscow and to underline the importance of 
coordination.  Saltanov confirmed that the Hamas delegation, 
headed by Khalid Meshal and composed of Hamas outsiders, is 
set to arrive March 3.  Scheduled for later that afternoon 
(after Friday prayers), the discussions will be led by 
Saltanov from the Russian side.  A brief call on FM Lavrov is 
likely, but there is no plan for Meshal to visit the Kremlin 
or meet with Putin, Saltanov said.  Though their schedule is 
not finalized, Hamas may also meet with Duma deputies and 
local Muslim leaders.  If there are positive indications, he 
said, talks may continue on March 4.  Any press statement 
"will depend" on the atmosphere and progress of the talks. 
 
2. (C)  Russia has "no illusions," Saltanov said, and 
expectations of a concrete outcome are low.  The GOR intends 
to press the Quartet agenda agreed in London, anticipates 
"difficult" discussions, and views this visit as a chance to 
"talk sense" to Hamas.  The prospect of Hamas' disarmament or 
recognition of Israel, Saltanov said, is unrealistic at this 
juncture.  Instead, the GOR will focus on getting Hamas to 
acknowledge agreements undertaken by the Palestinian 
Authority (e.g., UNSC resolutions 1397 and 1515) and, 
possibly, buy into the Road Map. 
 
3. (C)  Saltanov underscored Russia's unconditional support 
for Abu Mazen as the keystone for progress on the Road Map 
and normalization in Israeli-Palestinian relations.  In that 
vein, the GOR has pledged $10 million in support of the 
Palestinian Authority and agreed to coordinate next steps 
with Quartet Special Envoy Wolfensohn to ensure consistency 
within the Quartet and avoid funds diversion to extremists. 
The Ambassador welcomed Russia's willingness to work with 
Wolfensohn, and noted our continuing support for Abu Mazen as 
well as our continuing commitment to address Palestinian 
humanitarian needs through aid to UNRWA and NGOs.  In terms 
of equipment, Saltanov said the GOR is still exploring ways 
to provide two civilian helicopters to the PA for exclusive 
use by Abu Mazen, but the possible delivery of 50 APCs 
remains on hold pending Israeli approval. 
 
4. (C)  Mindful of the possible impact of the Hamas talks on 
Israel's upcoming elections, the Russians are in frequent 
contact with the GOI, Saltanov said, and will reach out to 
A/PM Olmert after Hamas' departure.  He expressed genuine 
sympathy for Olmert, calling him a capable interlocutor, and 
said the GOR is mindful of the sensitivity of the 
pre-election period in Israel. 
 
5. (C)  Saltanov said he believes President Putin intends to 
call President Bush after the Hamas visit.  Saltanov added 
that he was aware of tentative plans for a Quartet 
Ministerial phone call on February 28, but thought FM 
Lavrov's schedule might preclude that (Lavrov travels to 
Budapest tomorrow with Putin).  Ambassador urged Saltanov to 
persuade Lavrov to do a Quartet call prior to the Hamas 
visit, as a way of underscoring Quartet unity and consulting 
again before the Hamas delegation arrived.  Saltanov said he 
understood, and would recommend that Lavrov follow through 
with a pre-visit call, as well as a post-visit debrief. 
 
6. (C)  Saltanov also noted that Aleksandr Kalugin will 
shortly be replaced by Sergey Yakovlev, until recently 
Russia's Ambassador in the UAE, as Russian Special Envoy to 
the Middle East. 
 
BURNS

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