Israel refuses Turkey, Russia call for Hamas over peace efforts

Israel refused calls from Turkey and Russia to include Hamas in the Middle East peace process.

Israel refuses Turkey, Russia call for Hamas over peace efforts

Israel refused calls from Turkey and Russia to include Palestinian movement Hamas in the Middle East peace process after this week's launch of indirect talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad met Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, in Damascus on Tuesday.

Turkey and Russia also said on Wednesday the Palestinian movement Hamas should not be excluded from the Middle East peace process.

However, the Israeli foreign ministry responded with a harshly-worded statement, which compared Meshaal to Shamil Basayev - the pro-independence Chechen leader killed by Russian special forces in 2006.

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul said, that "Nobody should be excluded when these talks are held. Unfortunately the Palestinians are divided in two. They must be united and to unite them there must be talks with both sides. The Hamas side won elections in Gaza and so cannot be ignored."

Gul added: "When Turkey talked (with Hamas) it faced threats but it emerged that Turkey was right. You cannot achieve peace by excluding people."

After his talks with Gul on Wednesday, the Russian leader also indicated that Hamas should be included in the process.

"We agreed to perhaps resolve this problem more actively, attracting all sides that are participating in the conflict, without isolating anyone from the process," Medvedev said.

Hamas won a parliamentary election in January 2006, ending a near-monopoly on power by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its dominant faction.

Hamas has offered Israel a decades-long truce if Israel withdraws from the Palestinian territories it occupied in the 1967 Middle East War and recognised what Hamas considers as the Palestinian refugees right of return.

However, the United States and some Western governments insist on not talking with Hamas and they want Hamas to give up armed resistance against Israel and accept the previous deals of the Palestinian Authority despite no peace deal or any military removal. Hamas says it fights what they call decades of occupation and armed resistance is an international legal right.

Russia, together with the United States, European Union and United Nations, make up a quartet of Middle East mediators. Moscow also has maintained contact with Palestinian group.

"There is no difference between Hamas actions against Israel and Chechen terror against Russia," Israeli ministry statement said.

"The foreign ministry vehemently rejects the call from the presidents of Russia and Turkey to include Hamas in the peace process and expresses deep disappointment over the meeting between the president of Russia and Khaled Meshaal in Damascus.

"Israel has always stood by Russia in its fight against Chechen terror and that is what we expect with regard to Hamas terror against Israel."

Russia imposed its control in Muslim states in the 1990s. Still low-level insurgency continues in Muslim states controlled by Russia.


Agencies

Last Mod: 13 Mayıs 2010, 16:10
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