Hamas must accept Israel's right to exist: Merkel

27th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 January 2006, BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is set to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories next week, called through a spokesman Friday for the Palestinian election winners, Hamas, to explicitly accept Israel's right to exist.

27 January 2006

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is set to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories next week, called through a spokesman Friday for the Palestinian election winners, Hamas, to explicitly accept Israel's right to exist.

Spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said this was the essential precondition for any European Union dealings with a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. He said Merkel was scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday afternoon in Ramallah on the West Bank.

No meeting with any Hamas official had been scheduled, Wilhelm said.

Further cooperation with the Authority required that Hamas recognize Israel's existence "without reservations." Violence must also cease, Wilhelm added.

Responding to reporters' questions about whether any kind of sanctions such as a suspension of development aid were contemplated, both Wilhelm and German Foreign Office spokesman Martin Jaeger indicated Germany was still waiting to see what happened next.

Merkel is scheduled to leave Germany on Sunday for a two-day Middle East tour, meeting on Sunday in Jerusalem with the acting Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and on Monday with President Moshe Katzav as part of her inaugural visits to Germany's main friends.

DPA

Subject: German news

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