My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, on 16 October 2009. We understand, despite Fatah agreeing to Egypt’s proposals, Hamas has not. The Foreign Minister stated that the original deadline and further repeated deadlines for reaching agreement among the Palestinian factions will not be met.
The UK continues to favour any reconciliation which supports peace negotiations and enhances efforts to improve governance, security and the economy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
We have made absolutely clear that the Goldstone report raised very serious issues that we wanted to see addressed. We also made clear that the resolution did not adequately address Hamas’ actions and Israel’s right to protect its citizens.
We did not vote because we were in the middle of detailed discussions about three key issues: the establishment of an independent inquiry, access for humanitarian aid to Gaza and how to restart the peace process. We were pursuing these at the highest level, between my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, President Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. The vote was called in the middle of those discussions and we did not wish to compromise the detailed work on those fundamental issues.
We have made clear on a number of occasions to Iran, and will continue to do so, that we have serious concerns about their ongoing support for Hezbollah and Hamas. Such support is unacceptable and only serves to undermine regional security.
With Syria, we raise regularly at ministerial and senior official meetings that support for Hezbollah and Hamas is inconsistent with regional stability and peace. I raised this during my visit in August 2009. The issue is also raised frequently by our British ambassador to Syria in the course of his meetings with Syrian Ministers and officials, most recently on 27 October 2009.