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Europeans continue to open channels of communication with Hamas

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr Mahmoud Al-Ramahi, has said that amid expectations that support for the Palestinian Authority will be stopped due to the financial crisis; there is widespread European activism toward opening the channels of communication with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. European officials are quoted as saying that the European Union regrets the boycott of Hamas after it won a parliamentary majority during the 2006 elections.

Al-Ramahi revealed that a series of formal and informal meetings had brought together representatives of Hamas in the West Bank, with European officials. During these meetings, the movement had been asked to help Europe in finding a way to do away with the conditions set by the Quartet's committee.

In a conversation with al-Jazeerah net, Al-Ramahi said that Europe has "Expended a lot of energy to extricate themselves from the predicament that they put themselves in" but highlighted that it was the European Union that continued to claim the results of the elections and the existing reality in the Gaza Strip could not be permitted. He also clarified that Hamas deputies had very recently met with European envoys, including deputies in an official capacity. The most recent of these meetings was convened a few days ago with the vice-president of the European parliament, Louisa Morgantini.

Al-Ramahi quoted Morgantini as saying that the European Union had tried to override the decision to boycott Hamas, which was proposed by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but were not able to do so due to US and Israeli pressure. He went on to add that Morgantini spoke of a European wish to issue an official position toward Hamas in the form of a political statement "through which Europe is able to solve the existing problem and resume communication with the movement."

Al-Ramahi clarified that the Swiss Special Envoy to the Middle East, Ambassador John Daniel Roche, had brought this assurance with him during a previous meeting with the president of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr Aziz Al-Duweik. Communications continued after this with meetings held with a delegation representing the German government and another from the organisation of Elder Statesmen headed by former US president Jimmy Carter, all of whom carried the same aforementioned message.

From another perspective, the Hamas representative clarified that the meetings with European officials touched on the current financial crisis in Europe and the possibility of ending financial support for the Palestinian Authority within a year at most. He announced that the Palestinians Authority's revenues from taxes are insufficient for it, forcing it to rely on European and Arab countries to pay the salaries of employees estimated at around $150 million every month. He added that all European officials expressed their anxiety over the real threat faced by the Authority in the coming years due to the financial crisis sweeping Europe.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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