First Published: 2007-09-26

Hamas calls on Arab states to skip US peace meet

Hamas warns that autumn conference will be new occasion for negotiators to make concessions.


Middle East Online

Hamas was not invited

GAZA CITY - The democratically elected Hamas movement ruling Gaza called on Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries on Wednesday to stay away from a US-sponsored Middle East peace meeting expected in November.

"The [Palestinian] government warns that the autumn conference will be a new occasion for negotiators to make concessions," it said in a statement.

"We thus call on our Arab brothers not to venture into this obscure tunnel. In particular, we call on Saudi Arabia not to participate in this conference," it said.

Israel's main ally the United States has called an international Middle East peace meeting for later this autumn as part of its efforts to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Washington has not officially announced the date or venue of the meeting, but it is widely expected to take place in November.

On Sunday, the United States said that members of an Arab League follow-up committee, which includes oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Syria, would be invited.

The committee, which also includes Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, is charged with convincing Israel to accept a Saudi-drafted peace initiative relaunched in March by the Arab League during a summit in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has said it has not yet decided whether to attend the meeting.


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