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Hamas ready for dialogue with West

world Updated: Aug 14, 2007 11:41 IST

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has expressed its willingness to open dialogue with Europe.

"We hope that the calls to launch a dialogue with Hamas would find an echo and would lead to fruitful results," Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement late on Monday.

"We reiterate our concerns and readiness for an opened dialogue with the West."

Zuhri hailed a call by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi for talks with the Hamas.

Speaking at a conference in Italy on Sunday, Prodi has said that Hamas' existence was a fact and the group must be integrated into the political process rather than excluded.

Said Zuhri: "We received Mr Prodi's statements with care and appreciation... his words coincide with other positive European officials' statements."

Several British parliamentarians had also slammed the government for its "negative attitude" towards Hamas, he added.

"Such positive stances came after the West realised how fatal their mistake was when they decided to boycott the movement," said Abu Zuhri.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in mid June that prompted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to dismantle the coalition government (of Fatah and Hamas) and appointed Salam Fayyad as new prime minister in the West Bank.