Hamas rejects return to Mideast peace talks
GAZA - Agence France-PresseThe Islamist Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip July 19 rejected a return to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an imminent resumption of negotiations.
"Hamas rejects Kerry's announcement of a return to talks and considers the Palestinian Authority's return to negotiations with the occupation to be at odds with the national consensus," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
He said that West Bank-based Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas had no legitimate right to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people.
Ihab al-Ghassin, spokesman for the Hamas government, also told AFP that "whoever negotiates on the part of the people who is not chosen by them, represents only himself. The Palestinian people will not accept this." Abbas's spokesman had hailed Kerry's announcement that peace talks would resume "in the next week" as "progress," but said details of the basis for negotiations still needed to be fleshed out.