Thursday, February 05, 2009

European MPs: EU wrong for not talking with Hamas

STRASBOURG, (PIC)-- Martin Schultz, the German leader of the European Parliament’s socialist group, has called for initiating dialog with Hamas in its capacity as a democratically elected movement if the international community wanted real progress toward a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict.

The Italian news agency on Tuesday quoted Schultz as saying that restoring Palestinian national unity was also a basic condition for progress along the road to solving that conflict. He stressed that European efforts backing such conciliation should include opening dialog with Hamas.

The socialist bloc leader criticized the European countries that did not talk to Hamas after its victory in the Palestinian elections, describing such a position as "wrong". He said, "It is shameful not to recognize results of an election the integrity of which was proven by European observers".

He said that the European Union had lost an opportunity to allow Hamas to change into a political, democratic force after it won popular legitimacy.

Schultz said that European humanitarian efforts should unite toward re-building Gaza to ease the tragedy suffered by civilians there.

The European MP was speaking on the eve of a visit by former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to Strasbourg where he is scheduled to deliver a speech before the European parliament.

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