Hamas denies reports of handing letter to Kerry

February 21st, 2009 - 4:14 am ICT by IANS  

Gaza City, Feb 21 (DPA) The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas denied Friday handing a letter of US senator John Kerry when he went to the Gaza Strip the day before.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied the group delivered “any letter to US Congress member John Kerry for him to transfer it to any party”.

However, Barhoum said his group is “ready to communicate with the international community to support the rights of the Palestinian people”.

Kerry, who narrowly lost the 2004 presidential election, entered the Palestinian territory Thursday in a rare visit by a US elected official.

Karen Abu Zaid, director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) gave Kerry a letter addressed to new US President Barack Obama from Hamas, an UNRWA spokeswoman confirmed at UN headquarters in New York Thursday.

There was no information about the contents of the Hamas letter.

Kerry chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His office in Washington could not confirm that Kerry accepted the Hamas letter.

Kerry was travelling with two congressmen, Brian Baird of Washington state and Keith Ellison of Minnesota, both fellow Democrats. In 2006, Ellison became the first Muslim elected to the US Congress.

The trio were the highest-ranking US officials to enter Gaza during the 20 months of Hamas rule.

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