Hamas must be involved in Middle East peace talks: Blair

January 31st, 2009 - 5:28 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 31 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister and Quartet envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair, has said that Hamas must be involved in the peace process in the region.

Blair said that in the past, the issue of the Gaza Strip had been neglected in an effort to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Such an effort was never going to work and will never work, The Times quoted Blair, as saying.

Yes, we do need to show through the change we are making on the West Bank that the Palestinian state could be a reality. The trouble is that if you simply try to push Gaza to one side then eventually what happens is the situation becomes so serious that it erupts and you deliver into the hands of the mass the power to erupt at any point in time, he said.

Blair added that Hamas must renounce violence and recognize Israels right to exist before it could be included in any talks.

I do think it is important that we find a way of bringing Hamas into this process, but it can only be done if Hamas are prepared to do it on the right terms, Blair said.

He warned that any such efforts must be made carefully, saying, If you do this in the wrong way it can destabilize the very people in Palestine who have been working all through for the moderate cause.

We do have to find a way of making sure that the choice is put before Hamas and the people of Gaza in a clear, understandable, unambiguous way, for them to choose their future. You have to find a way of communicating that choice to them in their terms. Now exactly what way you choose at the moment, that is an open question, Blair opined. (ANI)

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