Prodi firm on Hamas isolation


Italy’s prime minister reaffirmed the demand that Hamas soften its stand against Israel before it can be engaged internationally.

Romano Prodi raised eyebrows in Israel this week by calling for a non-binding “dialogue” with the radical Islamist group in hope of restoring unity in the Palestinian Authority.

But Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said Wednesday that he had spoken with his Italian counterpart by telephone and that Prodi had made clear he wanted the Western isolation of Hamas maintained until it recognizes the Jewish state, accepts past Israeli-Palestinian peace deals and foreswears terrorism.

“The Italian prime minister remarked that his policy was, and remains, that no contacts should be made with Hamas so long as it does not fully meet the three principles laid down by the Quartet” of international peace mediators, Olmert’s office said in a statement.


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