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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hamas Praises Russia for Being 'Completely Unlike the West'

Hamas' leader hailed his Moscow talks as an end to the militant Palestinian group's international isolation and said Russia's position in negotiations differed from that of the United States and other Western nations, according to an interview published Monday.

Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal, whose three-day visit ended Sunday, told the daily Vremya Novostei that "Moscow became the place where we opened the door to the entire global community."

"It broke the blockade which Israel and the United States have been trying to impose on us," Mashaal said.

He also said that "Russia's position is completely unlike that of the West," and praised Russian officials for understanding Hamas' stance.

Many Russian media and observers hailed the Kremlin invitation to Hamas as helping boost the Russian role in Middle East peacemaking. Geidar Dzhemal, a Moscow-based Islamic affairs analyst, said talks with Hamas also helped the Kremlin win stronger sympathy from the estimated 20 million Muslims who make up nearly 14 percent of Russia's population. "That was a very successful spin by Putin," Dzhemal told reporters Monday.

But Alexei Malashenko, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Russia's hosting of Hamas was unnecessarily warm. "Hamas should have been given a pat on the shoulder, but they had a passionate tango instead," Malashenko told Gazeta.