Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas Denounce Annapolis Talks


"25/11/2007 Hezbollah joined Iran and Hamas movement on Sunday in denouncing this week's U.S.-hosted Middle East conference, calling it a "media show" in support of Israel. The United States aims to relaunch settlement talks on Palestinian statehood at Tuesday's conference in Annapolis, Maryland, that will bring together Arab and Israeli leaders.

"He who looks at the preparations for the Annapolis conference finds that it has no gains for the Palestinians. It is a media-political show in favor of Israel," Hezbollah's Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Kassem told a rally in Beirut. He said the conference aimed at propping up some Palestinian leaders, a clear reference to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Iran said on Sunday the conference in Annapolis would result in an erosion of Palestinian rights because Washington had shown in the past that it was not an objective mediator. Iran called in October called for a boycott of the meeting. "The organizers of this conference are Americans and past experience tells us that they cannot be objective and credible mediators and they are providing all out support for the Zionist regime," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said, making a reference to ‘Israel’. "The end result of all of these conferences leads to a further erosion of Palestinian rights," he told a news conference.

"This conference, and whatever comes out of it, will not be fruitful if it does not safeguard the rights of Palestinians," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, IRNA news agency reported. "Attending this conference shows a lack of political intelligence... The names of those who give concessions to the Zionist occupiers by attending will not be remembered for goodness," the president told a gathering of Iran's Basij religious group.

On Saturday, Hamas condemned the decision by Arab powers to endorse next week's conference, saying the talks would favor Israeli policies rather than Palestinian demands. Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri called the announcement "a great shock for Palestinians because it opened the door for direct normalization with the occupation (Israel) amid (its) continued escalation and aggression."
"The Palestinian people had awaited an Arab consensus for breaking the siege," Abu Zuhri said in a statement, referring to a Western aid embargo and Israeli military crackdowns on Gaza since Hamas democratically won the elections in 2006.
"This meeting will only achieve more failure and more harm to the Palestinian cause and to Arab and Palestinian rights," he added."

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