Hamas to consider joining Mideast peace summit: official

By Xinhua

Gaza : An aide of deposed Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haneya said Wednesday that the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) would consider joining an international conference on Mideast peace, to be held at Annapolis in US, if invited.

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Ahmed Yousef told reporters in Gaza that if Hamas movement was invited to join Annapolis conference, “it would think about attending it.”

Yousef, considered a moderate Hamas figure, keeps in touch at unofficial level with European and US figures involved in the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Palestinian National Authority.

In July, US President George W. Bush called for a peace summit to invite Israel, the Palestinians, Arab and world leaders to resume the peace process and pave the way for a Palestinian state.

Earlier, Hamas leaders had called on Arab countries, mainly Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to boycott the summit. The movement also urged President Mahmoud Abbas to shun the conference and get back to the negotiation table.

The movement, which took control of the Gaza Strip by force in mid-June, also described the peace summit “a great failure” and vowed to run a parallel summit in Damascus.