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Brazil calls for international talks on Gaza

world Updated: Jan 12, 2009 20:15 IST
Brazil calls for international talks on Gaza

International talks including Israeli and Hamas representatives should be held to resolve the conflict in the Gaza Strip, Brazil said on Monday as its top diplomat toured the Middle East.

"All the people who have something to do with the conflict in the Middle East have to be involved so we can find a path (to peace)," Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in his weekly radio program.

He said that an international forum that brought delegates from 40 countries, including Brazil, as well as from the United Nations and the European Union together in Annapolis, in the US state of Maryland in November 2007, should be revived.

"It's important that there is not only Israel and the Palestinian Authority around the table, but also those within Israel and the Palestinian Territories who don't want peace and who are making exaggerated demands," Lula said.

Hamas should be part of the talks along with Israeli groups, he added.

"Those who want conflict have to be identified and these people put at a negotiating table, along with the forces that have an influence on the Palestinian Authority -- especially Hamas -- and on the population in Israel," Lula said.

Hamas, the elected Palestinian movement that runs the Gaza Strip, is classed as a "terrorist" group by the United States, the European Union and Israel, but not by Brazil and other countries.

Brazil has criticized as disproportionate the offensive Israel launched on December 27 against Hamas in response to rocket and mortar fire into its territory.

So far, the conflict has claimed more than 900 Palestinian lives. Thirteen Israelis have been killed.

Brazil's foreign minister, Celso Amorim, on the weekend made a trip to the Middle East to discuss the situation.

After visiting Syria and Israel on Sunday, Amorim met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.

He called for an "urgent" ceasefire and the application of a UN Security Council resolution adopted last week that demands a truce and the opening of Gaza's borders to humanitarian aid convoys.