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Hamas is likely to take part in presidential elections

A senior member of the Hamas political bureau said on Saturday that his movement is likely to take part in the proposed Palestinian presidential election. Speaking to journalists in Gaza, Mousa Abu Marzouk said that the decision was taken to take part in all elections in Palestine, including parliamentarian, municipal and syndication polls. Asked about the presidential elections, he said that the decision has not been taken yet. "Probably," he admitted.

He said that meetings between Hamas and Fatah representatives on the issue of forming the national agreement government would start soon. "Fatah representative Azzam Al-Ahmad is coming to Gaza next Sunday to start the discussions," he revealed.

Abu Marzouk reiterated that this government would be transitional and it would not have a political agenda. He said that he does not blame Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas for claiming it would recognise Israel and would continue security operation with the occupying authority.

"Nevertheless, we are not abiding by what Abbas says," he said, "we are abiding by what we have signed on paper."

Meanwhile, he reaffirmed his movement's position that it would never recognise Israel or give up the right of return for all the Palestinian refugees in diaspora. "There is a land which has been and remains usurped and it will be liberated," he said. "There are refugees who will return to their homes."

About Hamas's relations with the Arab states, Abu Marzouk said that most of the countries in the region are busy in their internal conflicts. Once again, the senior Hamas official felt the need to confirm that the movement keeps well away from the internal affairs, including the causes of turmoil, in any and all of the neighbouring countries.

"We have nothing to do with what is happening in Egypt," he insisted. "The accusations against Hamas are not true. Egypt was sceptical about the reconciliation, but it allowed me to enter Gaza as part of its support for reconciliation."

On the question of relations with Iran, Abu Marzouk acknowledged that the relationship was severed at a certain point in time, but said that they are working to repair the problem.

MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad

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