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Hamas leader says group has no problem with US

world Updated: May 29, 2010 10:28 IST

AFP
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Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said on Friday his Palestinian group had no problem with the United States, but called Israel "the obstacle" to peace in the Middle East.

"We don't have a problem whatsoever with the United States or with American interests," Khaled Meshaal told PBS television in an interview.

"America is a great state, a superpower," he continued.

"But its interest should not be at the expense of the interests of others and the peoples of in the region."

Israel was "the obstacle on the face of peace in the region," he said, urging the administration of Barack Obama to "deal with this reality" rather than pressuring the Palestinians.

US support for Israel "complicates matters," the Hamas leader added.

"If America wants democracy and human rights, it has to give the same rights to the people in the region," he argued.

Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007, driving out Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's secular Fatah movement.

It swept several large Palestinian towns in the last local elections held in stages between 2004 and 2005. It also scored an upset victory in parliamentary elections in 2006.

But it remains blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States.

Israel and Egypt have sealed the Gaza Strip off from all but basic humanitarian aid since Hamas -- which is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state and blacklisted as a terrorist group by the West -- seized power in June 2007.