Hamas says US-sponsored Mideast conference won't succeed

By
October 17, 2007 16:34

Deputy head of group's political bureau also slams Abbas for rejecting Arab mediation to end Fatah-Hamas differences.

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Hamas abu marzouk 248 88

Hamas abu marzouk 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

The peace conference called for by US President George W. Bush will not achieve results because the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators cannot discuss substantive issues, an exiled Hamas leader said Wednesday. Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, told reporters that recent meetings between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were a "total failure," adding that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pressing them to come up with a common document to submit to the peace conference. Rice has been meeting this week with top Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian officials as part of preparations for the conference that will be held in November or December in Annapolis, Maryland. "Abbas cannot give the concessions wanted by Israel and Olmert cannot discuss any of the pending substantial issues. The conference will not come up with any tangible results," he said. "There is a complete Israeli rejection of discussing basic issues like Jerusalem and refugees, or even to mention them in one sentence. Olmert cannot submit anything important to the conference because he is popularly weak," Abu Marzouk said. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are trying to write a joint document of principles that would guide future peace talks. Tensions arose earlier in the week when Olmert said such a document is not a prerequisite for the conference. The Palestinians insist on such a document, even if it contains only a sentence or two about the core issues, such as Jerusalem, borders, Israeli settlements and Palestinian refugees. Abu Marzouk said: "our choice is to establish an independent state, which is a foremost concern for us, but what is more important is liberation of land and the return of Palestinian refugees." He indicated that the next National Palestinian Conference, expected early next month in Damascus, would send the message to the world that Abbas does not represent Palestinians. Abu Marzouk called on Abbas' Fatah group to "launch dialogue with Hamas, resort to logic and not to listen to the US and Israel," adding that Abbas has rejected many Arab mediation to end differences with Hamas.


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