Hamas urges Abbas to declare peace talks a failure
The radical Palestinian Hamas movement on Saturday called on Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas to announce the failure of the Middle East peace
process and to start a national dialogue instead.
"Hamas movement calls on (Palestinian) Authority President to officially announce the failure of the negotiations and to return to negotiate with the Palestinian powers," said Hamas' spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri.
Hamas' call was made after Abbas ended talks with US President George W Bush on Friday. The talks did not achieve any progress in pushing peace talks with Israel.
"This failure proves that all promises by Bush, about creating a Palestinian state before he steps down, were only lies and illusions," Abu Zuhri said.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) launched peace talks at a US-hosted conference in November, hoping to reach a deal before the end of this year.
The expansion of Israeli settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem are seen by the PA as the main obstacles to the progress of the talks.
Inter-Palestinian dialogue was stropped when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip after routing pro-Abbas forces. Abbas refuses to hold any talks with Hamas unless it gives up control of the Gaza Strip.
Earlier Saturday, Hamas downplayed Israel's rejection of its offer of a six-month truce, which an Israeli government spokesman on Friday rejected as "not serious."
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader who took part in the talks with Egyptian mediators, said that his movement "doesn't take the official response from the media."