Britain is re-establishing contact with the militant group Hezbollah following the formation of a unity government in Lebanon, the British government said Thursday.On Hamas:
The Foreign Office said that it has established contact with the group's political wing but still has no contact with its military wing.
Britain ceased contact with members of Hezbollah in 2005 and listed the military wing as a proscribed terrorist organization last year.
The Foreign Office said that it had reconsidered its position following positive developments in Lebanon.
"Our objective with Hezbollah remains to encourage them to move away from violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with a range of UN Security Council Resolutions," the ministry said.
The ministry said Britain's ambassador attended a meeting in January in Beirut alongside a Hezbollah lawmaker, and that the government was seeking to build relations with other legislators attached to the group.
A European parliamentary delegation on Saturday met with members of Hamas's political leadership-in-exile in Damascus to discuss ways to end the group's international isolation. The six-member EU delegation, which includes lawmakers from Britain and Ireland, said that their meeting with Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus was intended to encourage more Europeans to recognise Hamas as a legitimate movement that was democratically elected by its people. "We believe that we should start talking with Hamas, and the more the delay, the more the suffering," Irish EU parliamentarian Chris Andrew said following the group's meeting.
On Palestinian unity:
The European Union will press Egypt Sunday to step up its mediation efforts to secure a Palestinian unity government and re-ignite the Mideast peace process.
Diplomats said a Palestinian unity government would lead the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip after an Israeli offensive. Hamas says power-sharing talks with its Palestinian rival Fatah are stuck because of disagreements over the political program of a future government.
The talks between key European Union, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian officials will also focus on efforts to open more crossings into Gaza for humanitarian aid.
In comparison with the various European initiatives to break the Levant stalemate, statements out of Washington look depressingly shortsighted and unimaginative. Indeed, they look intentionally obstructionist.
Secretary Clinton: "I believe that it?s important, if there is some reconciliation and a move toward a unified authority, that it?s very clear that Hamas knows the conditions that have been set forth by the quartet, by the Arab summit," source
So, Madam Secretary, you don't think it will be important for achieving reconciliation for Israel to know the conditions set forth by the quartet and the Arab summit?
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that a successful Palestinian reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas must include recognition of Israel by Hamas.[as summarized by Haaretz]
Why, Madam Secretary, "must" Israel not also recognize Hamas?
Secretary Clinton: In the absence of Hamas agreeing to the principles that have been adopted by such a broad range of international actors, I don't see that we or they -- or anyone -- could deal with Hamas--CNN
And what about agreement, Madam Secretary, by Israel to the principles that have been adopted by a broad range of international actors (e.g., ending the illegal settlements, living within its internationally recognized 1967 borders)?
A senior American official on British policy toward Hezbollah: We don't see the differences between the integrated leadership that they seeA very thin excuse for not talking to a party that is part of the Lebanese government. It is now U.S. policy to pick and choose among various factions within the legally recognized government of a foreign country?
Secretary Clinton: There is no doubt that any nation, including Israel, cannot stand idly by while its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks.
So, walling up 1.5 million civilians inside a concentration camp surrounded by soldiers and preventing them from importing food or medicine is what you, Madam Secretary, consider to be "idly standing by?"