Hamas does not need to recognize Israel in the framework of the 2002 Arab League peace initiative, the league’s former secretary-general Amr Moussa said in a statement, denying previous remarks that he said the group should recognize the Jewish state.

“I believe that Hamas should declare its acceptance of the Arab initiative of 2002, which is the map of normalization and recognition of the State of Israel together with the establishing of the Palestinian state and the withdrawal of the occupied territory,” an AFP report quoted Moussa as saying earlier this month.

The statement denying this, released by Moussa’s spokesman on Monday, and reported by Ahram Online, pointed out that some signatories to the peace initiative do not recognize Israel.

It said that he reiterates his call for Hamas to accept the 2002 initiative.

The plan, which Saudi Arabia put forward at an Arab League summit in Beirut in 2002, offered full recognition of Israel, but only if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Six Day War and agreed to a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.

The Arab initiative bases its call for a solution to the refugee issue on UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which says that refugees should be able to choose whether to return to Israel or receive compensation.

Meanwhile, early unofficial results for the upcoming presidential election from Egyptians living abroad show that former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is way ahead of Hamdeen Sabahi.

The results show Sisi with around 93 percent of the vote, and Sabahi with 6%, and around 2% of the vote invalid, Daily News Egypt reported. Over 300,000 Egyptians voted according to the Foreign Ministry.

The elections are scheduled to be held in Egypt from May 26-27.

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