The Italian foreign minister said that groups such as the Hizbullah and Hamas are not purely terrorist organizations and that efforts to bring them into the political fold should be encouraged.
"Hamas and Hizbullah are not al-Qaida," Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said in an interview with Corriere della Sera published Tuesday. "Besides their well-known responsibilities for terrorist actions, they have a political side, they are engaged in assistance."
"IRA and ETA have become political movements from (being) terror groups," D'Alema said, referring to groups that have carried out terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland and in Spain. "We must encourage this metamorphosis in the Middle East," D'Alema said.
"Instead, organizations that are purely dedicated to terror must be fought and defeated," he told Corriere, the country's leading newspaper.
Both Hizbullah and Hamas are on a US list of terror organizations. The European Union considers Hamas a terrorist organization but does not list Hizbullah.