(Reuters) - A senior Russian official met the commander of Palestinian security forces to discuss military and intelligence co-operation, Moscow's defence ministry said on Wednesday.
Without providing details, it said that Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin held talks with Major General Nidal Abu Dukhan from the Palestinian National Authority on the margins of a security conference held alongside Russia's Army-2022 forum.
The talks, which took place on Tuesday, came as Moscow, nearly six months into its invasion of Ukraine, seeks allies around the world to counter what President Vladimir Putin described in a speech this week as Western hegemony and neo-colonialism.
Russia has traditionally maintained good relations with the Palestinians and supported their drive for statehood, while stopping short of steps it believes could threaten its status as a neutral intermediary between them and Israel.
Ties between Moscow and Israel have also been historically strong, but have recently become strained due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Israel has condemned.
Russia has been keen to offer support to countries it considers allies in Latin America, Africa and Asia since its invasion, including through selling advanced weapons and military technology.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, the defence ministry said it held talks with the West African nation of Mali on strengthening its defence capabilities.
Al Qaeda's affiliate in Mali claimed on Monday it had killed four mercenaries from Russia's private military firm Wagner Group in an ambush around Bandiagara in the centre of the country.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)