- March 15, 2009
European MPs call in meeting with Mishaal for opening dialog with Hamas
A number of European lawmakers and politicians met Saturday with Khaled Mishaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, in Damascus and stressed the need to open dialog directly with Hamas as a democratically-elected Movement in order to end the suffering of the Gaza people.
At a joint news conference held after the meeting, Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan stated on behalf of Mishaal that this visit is a step in the right direction and must be followed by several steps to correct all the mistakes that were made against the Palestinian people and their cause.
Hamdan underlined that Hamas always sought good relations based on the Palestinian interests and the national project represented in ending the occupation, the return of refugees and the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state.
For her part, former British minister and member of the British labor party Clare Short said that the aim of the visit was to encourage more European lawmakers to talk with Hamas in its capacity as a democratic movement.
Short added that the visit was also intended for finding a formula for a just peace process for the Palestinian people, noting that the visit did not represent the British government, but there could be future dialog with Hamas along the lines of recent contacts between the British government and the Lebanese resistance.
Irish politician Chris Andrews told the news conference that the contacts with Hamas would go on, considering the appointment of George Mitchel as a special envoy to the Middle East as an encouraging sign of close dialog with Hamas and a solution to the Palestinian problem.
For her part, MP Jenny Tong from the British liberal democratic party pointed to a marked increase in support for the Palestinian people especially in the House of Commons and the hhouse of Lords, adding that two major British parties formed new committees called “friends of Palestine.”
Spokeswoman for the liberal democratic party Lindsay Barticia hailed Hamas for its clear answers to questions she described as difficult, highlighting the importance of declaring such meetings with Hamas and not holding them in camera as some parties do especially since Hamas is a democratic movement.
Scottish MP Pauline Makelele underlined that the members of the delegation came to listen to Hamas”s opinion about different issues in order for them to be able to defend these issues in their countries, pointing to a very large popular support for Palestine in Scotland more than ever.