NATO: Contact with Hamas is out of the question

NATO's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer insisted Friday that the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections last month has cut short tentative efforts by NATO to build ties with the Palestinian authorities. "It's an absolute impossibility to have any kind of dealing with Hamas by NATO," de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference. "Contact with Hamas is out of the question." NATO held exploratory talks last year with the Palestinian Authority as part of a drive to develop closer relations with the Middle East and North Africa. As part of that drive, NATO defense ministers met for the first time Friday with counterparts from Israel and six Arab nations invited to join their NATO counterparts for talks in this Mediterranean resort. De Hoop Scheffer made similar remarks ruling out relations with Hamas last weekend at an international security conference in Munich, Germany. The United States and European Union regard Hamas as a terrorist organization.