First Published: 2006-02-13

Hamas will end armed struggle if Israel quits occupied territories

Meshaal says his Palestinian Islamist group does not feel bound by roadmap since no one lese is abiding by it.


Middle East Online

By Eric Helque - MOSCOW

We are open to dialogue with the whole world: Meshaal

Hamas will end its armed struggle against Israel if the Jewish state withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories, the radical Islamist group's leader told a Russian daily in comments published Monday.

"If Israel recognizes our rights and pledges to withdraw from all occupied lands, Hamas, and the Palestinian people together with it, will decide to halt armed resistance," the radical Islamist group's supremo Khaled Meshaal said in an interview with the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

In earlier statements Meshaal had only said that Hamas could agree to a "long-term truce" with Israel if it were willing to return to the 1967 borders and recognise the rights of Palestinians to self-determination.

However, Meshaal added in his latest comments that Hamas did not feel bound by the international Middle East roadmap for peace since, in his view, no one else was abiding by it.

"Since no one is abiding by the dispositions of the roadmap, the Palestinians also feel it is not expedient to adhere to it," said Meshaal, who lives in the Syrian capital Damascus.

He said Hamas was prepared to talk with everybody, including the United States. "We are open to dialogue with the whole world. Hamas has set no limitations whatsoever on contacts with the United States," Meshaal said.

Hamas won a surprise landslide victory in January's parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority but has since come under international pressure to renounce violence against Israel.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin extended a controversial invitation to Hamas to visit Moscow for talks on the future of the Middle East peace process, an idea accepted with relish by the Islamists who are poised to form the next Palestinian government.

It was a great honor for Hamas to have been invited to Moscow by Putin, Meshaal said.

"The establishment of good relations with Moscow is a treasured chance for Hamas to advance the peace process," he said. "That is why we will do our outmost to maintain and develop cooperation with the Russian Federation."

Moscow will urge Hamas to recognise Israel when members of the militant Islamist group visit there for talks with Putin, Russia's special envoy to the Middle East, Alexander Kalugin said Sunday, following talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

Kalugin earlier said that the Hamas delegation could travel to Moscow before the end of February.

Hamas, whose charter openly calls for the destruction of Israel, has been behind the majority of anti-Israeli attacks over the last five years.

While the movement is classified as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States, it does not feature on any such Russian blacklist.

The Middle East quartet, made up of diplomats from the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, earlier made clear that relations with Hamas were possible only if the organisation affirmed Israel's right to exist and renounced violence.


Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS

Isolated US defiant at UN Security Council

Putin to visit Turkey for talks on Jerusalem, Syria

Protests sweep Muslim world over Jerusalem

US urges Saudi to show caution in regional disputes

Thousands march in Istanbul to protest US Jerusalem move

Bahrain Shiite leader undergoes surgery

Malaysians, Indonesians protest US move on Jerusalem

EU, Jordan voice backing for Palestinian state

Clashes in West Bank over US Jerusalem move

Macron appeals for calm over US Jerusalem embassy move

World leaders to 're-legitimise' Lebanon PM at Paris talks