Sergey Lavrov warns Hamas it will have no future if it fails to reform

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Hamas will have no future if the Palestinian militant group fails to transform itself into a political structure.

Lavrov said there was a "need for Hamas having been elected to a political body to transform itself into a political party and to be sure that the military wing of Hamas become a legitimate part of the Palestinian security structures."

He spoke to reporters ahead of his talks with a Hamas delegation that arrived in Moscow Friday.

Hamas' exiled political leader Khaled Mashaal on Friday bluntly rejected any discussion of the militant group's refusal to recognize Israel , dealing a setback to Moscow 's effort to persuade it to soften its stance.

Lavrov urged patience, saying that "we don't expect that Hamas will do all this and change itself overnight." "It will be a process, hopefully not as long as the process in Great Britain regarding Northern Ireland ," he added.

He said that Hamas needs "to reassess its new role, for which maybe it wasn't ready when the elections took place."

Russia 's invitation, extended by President Vladimir Putin, was the first crack in an international front against the group, considered a terrorist organization by Israel , the European Union and United States . Hamas has sent dozens of suicide bombers to Israel and does not accept the presence of a Jewish state in the Middle East , reports the AP.


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