Monday, July 23, 2007

Blair arrives in the region, Hamas: We would talk to you but not to Israel

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Monday that his organization would be willing to talk with the Quartet's new Mideast envoy, former British prime minister Tony Blair, but not with Israel.
"We won't say no to anyone, including Tony Blair," Zuhri told The Times on Monday. "We are willing to maintain ties with anyone as long as it isn't the occupier."
Hamas responded with outrage when Blair was appointed in late June by the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - as their special envoy.

Last week, Hamas warned Blair not to ignore the group, and maintained that marginalizing Hamas would erode his credibility in his new position.
Political sources in Jerusalem said Sunday that Blair is expected to stray from his mandate and try to further diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Sources in the Foreign Ministry say that Blair is unlikely to deal with "technical" matters - building institutions and mobilizing the support of donor countries - and will focus on furthering the diplomatic process.
"From this point of view, Israel is less enthusiastic," a political source in Jerusalem said Sunday.
Blair is scheduled to arrive in Israel Monday for a series of meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The former British prime minister is on his first visit to the region in his new capacity, and senior political sources in Jerusalem say he will begin studying the Palestinian Authority's situation before starting his official mandate of helping the Palestinians build institutions of state.


1 comment:

William said...

This "we would talk to you but not to Israel" stuff is so childish. As is the Israeli equivalent. When will these people grow up?