France urges Israel, Palestinians to engage HamasMarch 12th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by admin
Paris, March 12 (Xinhua) French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has called on both the Palestinian Authority and Israel to hold dialogue with Hamas, a hard-line Islamic faction that controls the Gaza Strip. “I think that we will have to engage with Hamas at some point,” said the French foreign minister Tuesday evening, in response to a question during an open forum organized by the International Diplomatic Academy and the International Herald Tribune.
“It is not the responsibility of France to talk to Hamas, even if indeed we can maintain contacts. It is matter that first and foremost concerns the Palestinians, and secondly the Israelis,” said Kouchner.
France, like other European Union countries and the United States, officially refuses to talk to Hamas owing to the fact that the organization has refused to recognize the existence of Israel and renounce the use of violence, according to observers.
In addition, Hamas has refused to acknowledge the achievements that have been made so far in peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
“It’s not up to us to decide, but it’s the duty of Palestinians to begin to speak,” said the foreign minister, adding that the Palestinian Authority “has always said it was in support of dialogue, but nothing has happened up to now.”
Negotiations for a truce in Gaza are being carried out through Egypt because of the refusal by the Israeli side to hold direct talks with Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist organization.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also severed relations with Hamas which ousted the moderate Fatah-led Palestinian Authority from power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007.