Hamas's exiled leader Khaled Mashaal said the only road to peace runs through Hamas and, in comments to an Italian newspaper, disparaged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for having no influence.
Mashaal's remarks were published in Corriere della Sera on Monday, hours before British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised Abbas during a visit to Ramallah in the West Bank amid renewed factional violence.
"With regards to [Abbas], didn't you realize yet that he counts for nothing?" Mashaal told Corriere. "Nothing when he was Arafat's Number Two, and nothing when he was premier in 2005. Why should he be supported by Europe now? Remember, the only way to peace runs through Hamas."