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   Putin says will invite Hamas to Moscow

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2/9/2006 12:00 pm

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Entered 2/9/2006, Updated 2/9/2006

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he intended to invite to Moscow the leaders of the Islamic militant group Hamas, which won Palestinian elections last month. A senior official of Hamas said any such invitation would be accepted. Hamas, which defeated the mainstream Fatah movement, is expected to form a new Palestinian government soon. The United States and the European Union have called on the group, which refuses to recognize the Jewish state, to renounce violence and disarm militants. "Maintaining our contacts with Hamas, we are ready in the near future to invite the Hamas authorities to Moscow to hold talks," Putin told a news conference in the Spanish capital Madrid where he was on a visit.


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