Peres: Fatah-Hamas cooperation essential to peace

Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Tuesday he hoped the Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas would resolve their differences so that they could both work together with Israel for peace in the Middle East, Spanish news reports said. Speaking in the southern city of Seville, Peres said he was aware of the "profound differences" between Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh but that it was necessary for the two to cooperate, national news agency Efe reported. Peres said he believed Hamas was an important force in the peace process and must play a role in it, according to Efe. He also recognized the group's importance in the religious sphere and in the economy of Gaza. But he stressed that Abbas was the "president of the Palestinian people" and that Israel felt it could reach agreements with him to end the violence, the news agency reported.