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Talk to Arab Islamists: Russian FM

Published: 28/04/2012 08:18:28 PM GMT
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MOSCOW - Urging the world to respect the people choice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country is not worried by the rise of Islamic parties to power in post Arab Spring era, advising world powers to start a (more)

MOSCOW - Urging the world to respect the people choice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country is not worried by the rise of Islamic parties to power in post Arab Spring era, advising world powers to start a dialogue with these parties.

"Political Islam is a normal phenomenon," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel cited by Interfax news agency on Saturday, April 28.

“It does not raise any concern with us, and we do not have to try hard to learn to work with these parties because we have worked with them, the Islamists, for a very long time.

"If we talk about trusting the people's choice, I see nothing terrifying here," Lavrov added.

The Middle East has been rocked by a series of popular uprisings last year that swept four Arab leaders from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

The revolts have also brought previously-banned Islamists to the helm of power in some countries as Tunisia, where Islamist Ennahda party won in the country's first free election.

The Muslim Brotherhood also emerged as the biggest winner in the upper and lower houses of parliament in Egypt, which also saw an uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.

In Morocco, the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) won 27% of parliament seats in last year's elections.

PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane was appointed later as the country's new prime minister.

According to Lavrov, ignoring such parties and movements leads to negative results.

"This was the case in 2007 when the Islamist movement Hamas won elections in Palestine, won honestly, and everyone recognized that," the Russian foreign minister said.

“The elections were free and fair but the West refused to recognize the results because the West considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

“We do not think so and we have regularly worked with Hamas and continue this work,” he added.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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