Hamas says it has contacts with the U.S.

Dec. 20, 2004 at 6:54 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The Palestinian militant group Hamas is maintaining contacts within the United States and Europe, a Hamas spokesman said Monday.

"The contacts are true and they do exist," said Osama Hamdan, the spokesman for Hamas in Lebanon, in an interview with Beirut's daily newspaper al-Mustaqbal.

Last week the U.S. State Department denied claims by a Hamas leader that the United States had initiated contacts with the group, which it considers a terrorist organization. The European Union and the British Foreign Office also denied having direct contact with Hamas, but both admitted talking with people close to the group.

"The U.S. and European denials were made due to embarrassment it caused them, since they accuse the movement of terrorism," Hamdan said.

"We are not going to unveil any details about these contacts with U.S. and European parties, because we are keen that they achieve positive results," he said.

Hamdan pointed out that the contacts are recent and still ongoing, but did not say whether the U.S. and European parties were official or not.

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