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    Israeli FM condemns Hamas visit to Turkey

    Hürriyet Haber
    17.02.2006 - 10:33 | Son Güncelleme: 17.02.2006 - 10:33

    Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni condemned Hamas's Thursday visit to Turkey, the first non-Arab country to receive leaders of the terrorist organization following its victory in the Palestinian elections, reported the Israel daily The Jerusalem Post. Livni expressed her displeasure in a conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in which Gul assured her that he would repeat the demands of the international community.

    "The peace process has to continue - and for that, Palestinians should be able to live in their own independent state side by side with the independent Israeli state," Gul said Thursday. "The peace negotiations will be at the table, and no doubt there should be no violence."

    Gul noted that Turkey's goal was to guide the Palestinians towards peace.

    EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, on a brief visit to Israel as part of a Middle East tour in the wake of the Danish cartoon controversy, suggested that Hamas visits to countries such as Russia and Turkey could help reinforce the conditions set by the Quartet (the EU, the UN, the US and Russia) concerning a Hamas government, reported the Post.

    The Quartet has declared that Hamas must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and honor previous agreements signed by the Palestinians and Israel.

    But at a press conference with Solana, Livni dismissed the need for any reiteration of the conditions to Hamas.

    "The demands of the Quartet are clear and non-negotiable," she said. "Just like the existence of Israel is not subject to discussion, neither is the need for Hamas to give up violence and terror." She called such meetings "unnecessary and dangerous."

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