Blair: peace process should include Hamas

Former British PM Blair repeated that Hamas needs to be part of peace process following EU's Solana and Turkish PM.

Blair: peace process should include Hamas

Hamas should be part of the Middle East peace process, Tony Blair, envoy to the region of the international "Middle East quartet" group, said in comments published on Friday.

"I do think it is important that we find a way of bringing Hamas into this process, but it can only be done if Hamas are prepared to do it on the right terms," Blair said in an interview with the Times newspaper, published on its website.

"If you do this in the wrong way it can destabilise the very people in Palestine who have been working all through for the moderate cause."

Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive in Gaza, killing more than 1300 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded at least 5300.

Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and government buildings and destroyed infrastructure system in Gaza, lefting Palestinians without electricity, gas and power.

With a shaky ceasefire in place after the war in Gaza, efforts are under way to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The West supports the Fatah administration in the West Bank and says it will not talk to Hamas under Israeli pressure.

Former British Prime Minister Blair is the Middle East envoy for the quartet of Middle East peace negotiators -- the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union.

Green light for Hamas

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cited that "Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, conducts negotiations with only one side, Al-Fatah, at the table. Hamas, as a party that won elections in Palestine, must be invited to the negotiation table," at a panel discussion titled "Gaza: The Case for Middle East Peace" as part of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, in Jerusalem, also used new language to describe the conditions under which the bloc would be prepared to work with a new coalition, should Hamas and Fatah manage to agree to one.

Hamas leaders have offered a long-term truce with Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Gazans live under heavy Israel siege for a long time and Egypt still insists on not to opening the only Gaza border crossing in a move condemned by Muslims around the world in protests, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives.

Reuters
Last Mod: 01 Şubat 2009, 12:18
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