Carter, Hamas leader meet in Damascus

Dec. 15, 2008 at 7:35 AM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal have talked in Damascus about kidnapped Israel solider Gilad Shalit, an official said.

Carter and Meshaal, the exiled leader of the militant Palestinian Arab group's political wing, met for five hours late Sunday a Hamas official said, in part to discuss negotiations to release Shalit, a corporal in the Israeli Defense Forces who has been held captive by the group since June 2006, CNN reported.

Carter and Meshaal also discussed Shalit in a meeting in April, with Hamas ultimately rejecting Carter's pleas to free him. Carter's April meetings with Hamas officials drew condemnation from the U.S. and Israeli governments, which criticized him for talking with a group that both countries consider a terrorist organization.

Hamas said Sunday it would soon release a statement about the latest meeting between Carter and Meshaal, CNN said.

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