Hamas was holding meetings with representatives of European and Scandinavian countries, according to the deputy head of the organization's political office, Musa Abu-Marzouk.
In an interview with the London-based al-Hayyat
newspaper, Abu-Marzouk said that the contacts were taking place in Damascus and other places. The Europeans' intent was to ascertain Hamas's actual positions and to convince the organization to recognize Israel, accept all agreements signed with it, and to end its commitment to violence.
Abu-Marzouk emphasized that Hamas refused to recognize Israel, but was willing to discuss issues related to quiet and stability.
According to Israel Radio, a British foreign ministry spokesman said that the international community would normalize relations with Hamas if the organization meets the conditions set for it.
The spokesman told the Palestinian newspaper al-Ayyam
that if Hamas announced it accepts the Arab peace plan from the 2002 Arab summit in Beirut, that would amount to a recognition of Israel.