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'Israel not to deal with Hamas until it disarms'

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz ruled out dialogue with Hamas unless the Palestinian Islamist movement disarms its militants.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 17:44 IST

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz on Tuesday ruled out dialogue with Hamas unless the Palestinian Islamist movement disarms its militants.

"This is the policy of Israel for having dialogue with Hamas," Mofaz told reporters after meeting President Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian capital.

"They should recognise the state of Israel. They should accept all agreements signed with the Palestinian Authority. They should stop calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. They should dismantle the Hamas terrorist organisation," he said.

Mofaz said the Islamist movement -- responsible for a wave of bloody attacks against Israel -- should "stop all kinds of terrorist activities and collect arms from Hamas members."

"No way that Israel will have discussions with Hamas without these conditions," he added.

Hamas won a resounding victory last month in the Palestinian parliamentary elections and is expected to form the next government.

On a visit to Athens, Israeli President Moshe Katsav voiced fears on Tuesday that the Hamas victory would "set us back by 10 years" in the Middle East peace process.

"There will be no negotiations with a Hamas which does not recognise Israel, Israel will not start all over again after the major strides it has made for peace. If Hamas changes, then Israel will enter into contact with it," he said.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 17:44 IST