No talks with Hamas unless it changes: Sarkozy

June 24th, 2008 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Bethlehem (West Bank), June 24 (DPA) French President Nicolas Sarkozy Tuesday called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a “man of peace”, and vowed that France would not talk to Hamas unless it renounced violence as a means of achieving Palestinian statehood. “France talks with the brave men and women who work in the field of politics and not terrorism,” Sarkozy told a news conference with Abbas in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.

“We talk with the people of peace, and not with the ones who place bombs,” he said.

“The Palestinian people should become men like President Abbas, and stay away from those who believe that violence can solve problems.”

Hamas, Sarkozy said, was “mistaken” to believe that it could achieve its goals through terrorism. “If this changes, then we will weigh the results. Until then, we want to help Abbas.”

The radical Islamic movement ruling Gaza had called on Western states to end their boycott of it, after it agreed on a truce in the Gaza Strip last week.

Sarkozy reiterated that “I am a friend of Israel and the security of Israel is non-negotiable to France,” but added that the creation of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state served Israel’s security and was also a top priority of France.

Sarkozy also demanded a complete freeze in Israeli settlement construction, including in East Jerusalem.

Speaking before Israel’s Knesset (parliament) Monday, Sarkozy had expressed unequivocal support of Israel, but also called for recognizing East Jerusalem as the future capital of the Palestinian state.

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