UK lawmakers try to force Hamas talks

Baroness Tonge: "The way we got around the Northern Ireland situation was by talking to the IRA."

March 17, 2009 11:35
1 minute read.
UK lawmakers try to force Hamas talks

jenny tonge 298.88. (photo credit: AP)


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A delegation of British politicians is trying to force the UK government to talk to Hamas, one of the lawmakers told CNN on Monday. The comments came after the delegation met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Syria on Saturday. "There are many politicians in Britain... who are increasingly frustrated that Hamas are not included in talks about peace," House of Lords member Baroness Jenny Tonge told CNN by phone from Damascus. "If we can get enough of them to talk to Hamas, we may be able to force the British government to talk to Hamas," she added. "We want the Brits and the European Union to put pressure on the United States" to meet Hamas as well. "The way we got around the Northern Ireland situation was by talking to the IRA," continued Tonge. "You don't make peace by talking to your friends. You make peace by talking to your enemies." Tonge is a fierce critic of Israel and was fired as the Liberal Democrat's spokeswoman on children's issues after expressing understanding for Palestinian suicide bombers in 2004. She said she knew her meeting with Mashaal could be deemed illegal and that she could face arrest on her return to Britain. "That is one of the risks that you take," she said. On Saturday, MP Clare Short, a member of the six-person delegation, told reporters in Syria that the aim of the visit was to urge the British government to talk to Hamas in the interest of peace.

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