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(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas said Saturday that it was disappointed that it would not attend this week's Arab summit here in the Sudanese capital, where it had hoped to explain its position to the Arab people.
"We had hoped to attend the summit to be able to support our people in light of the threats against them and our upcoming government," Moushir al-Masri, Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip told The Associated Press by telephone.
Al-Masri, who was elected to the Palestinian parliament in the group's landslide victory in January, blamed the group's absence on "Palestinian parties," alluding to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
He argued that "obstacles" had been put in the way of the recognition of the Hamas-led government, calling such actions "immoral."
Because the new Cabinet will not be sworn in until Thursday, Hamas is not entitled to have representatives on the Palestinian delegation in Khartoum.
Earlier Saturday, the foreign ministers of 21 Arab states began a two-day meeting Saturday that is supposed to reach consensus positions on Iraq, Iran, the situation between Israel and the PA following Hamas's victory in the January elections, as well as the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region and the tension between Syria and Lebanon.
According to a draft documents obtained by The Associated Press, the summit will come out firmly against any retreat on its policy toward Israel, which would leave Hamas isolated.
The Sudan newspaper, Al Ray Al Aam, said in an editorial that the "phantom of Hamas will cast a shadow on the summit."
"Those who have supported the Oslo agreement, and the principle of two states living in peace, should be frank with Hamas," wrote the paper.
On Friday, Arab diplomats were struggling to find compromises among their nations over a series of divisive issues.
"The situation is very dangerous and sensitive," Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa told reporters Friday while speaking of the overall agenda. "But we in the Arab world have enough awareness to behave and react to face all the big and dangerous problems."
"We are facing very crucial weeks in the history of the region because of several issues," the United Nations' envoy for the Middle East, Terje Roed Larsen, said earlier this week, referring to Iraq, Iran's nuclear program, Lebanese-Syrian relations and the Palestinian territories.