Former US president Jimmy Carter said on Tuesday he wanted to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on his current Middle East tour but indicated that Israel refused to authorise the trip.
"I haven't been able to get a permission to go to Gaza. I would like to. I asked for permission but I was turned down," Carter told reporters in Ramallah ahead of a meeting with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad.
Israeli authorities, which control access to Gaza, did not immediately comment on the report.
Carter defended his decision to meet Meshaal, saying he hoped to help involve the movement in the current peace process.
"I'm going to try everything I can to get him to agree to a peaceful resolution of differences both with the Israelis and with Fatah," he said, referring to Abbas's Fatah movement.
"But I'm not a negotiator, I'm just trying to understand different options and communicate," he said. "If he has anything constructive to say, he or the Syrian president, then I would bring it to other people."
Carter said on Sunday that Israeli leaders had declined to meet him on the tour which will also take him to Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
The former US president won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and is considered to be the architect of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
Last Mod: 16 Nisan 2008, 08:45