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Hamas must recognise Israel: Egyptian Prez

Hosni Mubarak has said that Hamas must recognise Israel if it wants to form the next Palestinian Govt.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 17:00 IST

The radical Islamist movement Hamas must recognise Israel if it wants to form the next Palestinian government, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview with an Israeli daily published on Friday.

"If Hamas wants to establish a government, Hamas must recognise Israel," Mubarak told the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily.

"I don't want to say what Khaled Meshaal needs to declare and what Hamas needs to do in order for you (Israel) to accept it," he said, referring to Hamas's Damascus-based supreme leader.

"But without recognising Israel, it won't work."

Hamas, which has been behind most of the deadliest attacks against Israel in recent years, won last week's Palestinian parliamentary elections, provoking alarm in Israel which refuses to deal with a Hamas-led government.

"It may well be that you have specific reason to be afraid of Hamas because of events in the past, but I don't see any reason to be worried," the Egyptian president said.

"At the end of the day, Hamas wants to live in peace. I am sure that they don't have any plans to establish a state of terror."

Urging patience from Israel, the Egyptian president said that Cairo did not believe Hamas, whose platform calls for the destruction of Israel, intended to form a "government of terror".

"Let us work, let us wait and see what Hamas wants, what Khaled Meshaal is saying, what others will say who are due to visit Egypt in the coming days," Mubarak said.

"We must hear Fatah, we must listen to Hamas and mediate between them. I hope we find a solution that brings about a coalition in which each sides knows what is expected of him."

Immediately after its election win, Hamas invited the previously long-dominant Fatah party of Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to join it in a coalition government.

But Fatah has refused and said it prefers to form the opposition.

Egypt's intelligence services chief Omar Suleiman, after a meeting in Cairo between Abbas and Mubarak, said on Wednesday that Abbas would form the government with other parties if Hamas refused to end the violence, respect past agreements with Israel and recognise the Jewish state's right to exist.

But a spokesman for the Islamist movement countered that the Palestinian leader could not prevent Hamas from forming the next government.

First Published: Feb 03, 2006 17:00 IST