Hamas confirms talks, France denies

Foreign Ministry demands explanations from countries accused of PA meetings.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 3, 2006 09:51
1 minute read.
Hamas confirms talks, France denies

Haniyeh 298.88. (photo credit: AP [File])

 
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A Hamas official confirmed on Monday that France held secret talks with its representatives on behalf of the European Union, a break in the policy of isolating the new Palestinian government. The Palestinian source further claimed that France was attempting to improve relations between the European Community and the group that Israel had urged countries to reject.

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French Ambassador to Israel Gerard Araud previously refuted the allegations made in a report submitted to officials in Jerusalem, Army Radio reported. Israel also suspected that other countries including India, Japan and China would soon publicly recognize the Hamas-led government. According to the report, despite the refusal of the US and Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians, the European Union, Russia and India were already holding secret or open talks with Hamas officials. The Foreign Ministry announced that it planned clarification talks with France and all other countries who allegedly engaged in discussions with the Hamas-led government. Reportedly, the EU talks have been sponsored by France, while India has already held official meetings with senior Hamas officials and Russia held consultations with the organization even prior to the Palestinian parliamentary elections, publicizing the talks after Hamas' landslide victory. Japan and China also expressed willingness to publicly recognize the Hamas government. Israel was concerned that these countries and many others would follow Russia's lead and hold official meetings with the movement. The United States has remained a staunch supporter of the policy of isolating Hamas. It has not backed down from its policy of shunning the new Hamas-led Palestinian government and has not made any attempts to pressure Israel into negotiating with the organization.

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