Russia will press the ruling Palestinian group Hamas to accept demands by the Quartet – a group of international peace brokers – that it soften its stance against Israel and accept agreements signed between the Palestinians and the Jewish state, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday.
"Not all members of the Quartet have relations with Hamas, but what we are doing is aimed at implementing the position of the quartet," Lavrov said in Washington after a meeting of the Quartet group of international peace brokers --- the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, and the United States.
“Hamas gained popular support and must realize its responsibility,” he said. “Russia will support efforts of the Palestinian National Authority head to form a national unity government. Palestinians must work on their future and understand that resolutions of the UN Security Council must be fulfilled.”
Turning his attention to Syria, Lavrov said that Damascus should not be brought into the Middle East peace process.
"We support bringing into the peace process all sides who can help make progress, and Syria could play a substantial role in this," he said.
Quartet concerned about intra-Palestinian violenceIn a statement read out by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon the group voiced its "deep concern" about violence between rival Palestinian factions that has killed at least 23 Palestinians in the last 24 hours.
The group, which includes the European Union, the United Nations, the United States and Russia, also appeared to reaffirm an international aid embargo against the Hamas-led Palestinian government unless it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and respects past peace deals.
"The quartet expressed its deep concern at the violence among Palestinians and called for respect for law and order," Mr. Ban said.
Fighting between Palestinian factions escalated across Gaza on Friday, killing at least 15 people as Hamas overran compounds used by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's forces and two major universities were set ablaze. At least 21 Palestinians have been killed and more than 200 wounded in the last 24 hours of internal fighting.
"The quartet called for Palestinian unity in support of a government committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements," Ban added. "The quartet reaffirmed that these principles endure."