Report: Obama administration conducted secret talks with Hamas

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WASHINGTON — The United States is said to have held a secret dialogue with Hamas, deemed a terrorist group.

A leading U.S. news website, quoting an unidentified official, said the administration of President Barack Obama conducted six months of secret talks with Hamas.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf

The website, BuzzFeed, asserted that the U.S. dialogue
focused on a Palestinian Authority government with Fatah as well as a
ceasefire with Israel.

Israel has asserted that
Washington’s support violated an agreement with Obama in 2013.

Hamas has been designated a terrorist group by the State Department. The
department has denied any contact with Hamas, which captured the Gaza Strip
in 2007.

“Our administration needed to hear from them that this unity government
would move toward democratic elections, and toward a more peaceful
resolution with the entire region,” the official was quoted as saying. “It
was important to have that line of communication.”

The report came amid U.S. support for the new Fatah-Hamas government
meant to restore PA control over the Gaza Strip.


“There is no such back channel,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf
said. “Our position on Hamas has not changed.”

Diplomatic sources said the administration has long passed messages
through third parties to Hamas. They said several countries, including Qatar
and Turkey, urged Washington to establish a dialogue with the Palestinian
Islamist movement. Turkey and the United States have scheduled strategic
talks, expected to include Hamas, on June 9 in Washington.

“Since the beginning, the administration has acted on the premise that
Washington, with the exception of hardcore Al Qaida, could develop relations
with the Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, which includes
Hamas,” a regional diplomat said.

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