Germany, UK ask Hamas to give up violence | india | Hindustan Times
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Germany, UK ask Hamas to give up violence

They also expressed hopes yet again that the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme could be resolved through negotiations.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 19:13 IST
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The German and British leaders stressed after talks in Berlin on Friday that Hamas must renounce violence and recognise Israel.

They also expressed hopes yet again that the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme could be resolved through negotiations.

Prime Minister Tony Blair also repeated that he believes the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is an "anomaly".

Responding to a question about a British Cabinet minister's call for the detention facility to be closed, Blair told reporters in Berlin, "I said last year that it's an anomaly and sooner or later has got to be dealt with."

In their second meeting since Chancellor Angela Merkel took office in November, the two leaders said their talks focused the future of the European Union, as well as the situation in the Middle East.

The two leaders insisted that Hamas, which won last month's Palestinian elections, renounce violence and recognise Israel's right to exist.

Blair said members of the international community "respect" Hamas' election victory, "but if they need our help to make progress this is the only basis".

On Iran, the two leaders again said they favoured the path of negotiations for resolving suspicions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its nuclear programme is only for generating power.

Britain, Germany and France led months of talks with Tehran in an effort to guarantee Iran's nuclear programme remained peaceful.

The negotiations collapsed last month when Iran said it was resuming its uranium enrichment programme, and the Europeans joined the United States in a successful effort to get the issue referred to the UN Security Council.

After Berlin, Blair will travel today to Budapest, Hungary, where he planned to meet Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.