Peace process without Hamas not viable: UN

A Palestinian peace process that does not include Hamas cannot be viable, the head of the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency said, after talks in the United States to try and revive the effort.

Peace process without Hamas not viable: UN
Karen AbuZayd, head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said more political pressure was needed to resolve the split between rival Palestinian factions Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Asked at a news conference if she felt a peace process that did not include Hamas was viable, she replied:

"I don't think it's viable at all and I think that's what the Palestinians themselves are saying, including the Palestinian authorities in (West Bank capital) Ramallah."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged at a 44-nation conference at Annapolis in the United States on Tuesday to try to forge a peace treaty by the end of 2008 that would create a Palestinian state.

AbuZayd said she had met the Palestinian prime minister and foreign minister before her visit to Brussels, where she opened a liaison office to the European Union, UNRWA's largest donor.

"Both of them were quite clear that Gaza is the missing link," she said.

Asked about prospects for a new unity government with Hamas, she replied: "That would be something that I would be in favour of personally. I don't expect that to happen immediately, but that at least arrangements will begin to be made..."

She said that following the Annapolis meeting, with a donor meeting due in Paris with proposals on economic reconstruction and institution building "we will have to be thinking about how to bring Gaza into the whole process".

"It won't be easy, as we have seen from recent events both in Gaza and West Bank, but I think that everyone realises that if we are talking about a two-state solution we have to have at least the whole of the Palestinians entity somehow together."

She said that before the split in the Palestinian territories, 40 percent of the West Bank's trade had been with Gaza. "That's not happening any more so everybody is suffering with the isolation of Gaza."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Kasım 2007, 18:20