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Hezbollah and Hamas

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what official contacts there have been in the last four weeks between the Government and (a) Hezbollah and (b) Hamas. (254721)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: On 9 January 2009, our ambassador in Beirut attended a meeting of British parliamentarians with the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Committee. Representatives of all main political parties in Lebanon were present, including one MP from Hezbollah's political wing. During this meeting, our ambassador stressed the importance of all sides respecting the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which established the terms of the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah in August 2006.

We do not believe it is productive to talk to Hamas directly. The Arab League has mandated Egypt to communicate with Hamas. We are in regular contact with both the Arab League and Egypt. Turkey, Syria, Qatar and others are also speaking to Hamas. The UK strongly supports intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind President Abbas which is the key for peace, stability and development.