18 March 2009

Egypt Pushing US to Deal with HAMAS

You cannot exclude the democratically elected officials of the Palestinian people, and that means HAMAS. They have a electoral mandate and have every right to be included in any negotiations.

From the BBC:

Egypt seeks softer US Hamas line

Egypt's intelligence chief is visiting Washington in what officials say is a push for a more flexible US stance on Hamas, to aid Palestinian unity talks.

An unnamed US official told AFP news agency that Mr Suleiman had met US Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Tuesday and might meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday.

Egyptian and Palestinian officials told AP news agency that Egypt is suggesting the US would accept a commitment from Hamas to "respect" existing Palestinian agreements with Israel, rather than "commit" to them.

Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of Israel, although the group has also offered a long-term truce if Israel withdraws to its pre-5 June 1967 borders.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit is currently in Brussels for talks with officials including European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

A previous unity agreement fell apart after Israel and its international backers refused to deal with Hamas.