Ayalon: Invite Hamas to Annapolis parley

Says invitation must be conditional on Hamas abiding by any deal Abbas and Olmert reach.

October 24, 2007 11:35
1 minute read.
Ayalon: Invite Hamas to Annapolis parley

hamas 224.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

Minister-without-portfolio Ami Ayalon (Labor) is urging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to end Israel's boycott of Hamas and invite representatives of the group to a US-sponsored peace parley scheduled to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, in late autumn. However, Ayalon specified, if Hamas were invited to Annapolis, the organization would have to abide by any agreement reached between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "Such a call by Israel would cause Hamas to crumble because of the internal struggles taking place within the group," Ayalon told Army Radio. On Tuesday, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinian Authority wouldn't attend the Annapolis conference unless an agreement was reached beforehand with Israel on all the final status issues. "The Palestinian position is very clear," he said. "We won't go to the conference unless we reach an agreement with Israel on the final status issues and a clear timetable for the implementation of any agreement between the two parties." Erekat said the PA has managed to persuade Arab and Islamic countries to endorse the Palestinian position and to set conditions for attending the planned conference. "The Arabs are now united toward the conference," he said. "We have all endorsed the Arab peace plan [of 2002] as the basis for solving the Israeli-Arab conflict."

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