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Abbas says Hamas is not terrorist group

March 17, 2013 at 7:21 AM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, March 17 (UPI) -- Hamas is committed to peaceful resistance and there is no need to label it a terrorist organization, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.

In an exclusive weekend interview with Russia Today, the Palestinian president responded to reports that the European Union is considering taking Hamas off the list of terrorist organizations.

"Chances are quite high that the Hamas government may be recognized as legitimate. If Hamas is committed to the cease-fire and if it openly pledges to stick to the peaceful popular resistance, I don't see much difference between their policy and ours. In this case, there is no need to label them as a terrorist organization," Abbas said.

He lauded the upgrading of Palestine in the United Nations as a "major achievement," saying he hopes a solution with Israel will be found through peaceful means as fighting will only lead to Palestine's destruction. He warned, however, that if Israel's policy concerning the West Bank settlements remains unchanged, there will be no negotiations.

"All Arabs and Muslims are ready to have peace with Israel. Arabs are not going to attack Israel after it withdraws from the occupied territories," he said.

Abbas also chided the Arab countries who pledged to send millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority on a monthly basis for failing to fulfill their obligations, Russia Today said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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