Osama Hamdan, who handles foreign relations for Hamas and is the movement's representative in Lebanon, told The Associated Press In an interview on Wednesday that his movement has been holding secret political talks with five European Union member states in recent months.
“I can say it’s an important level of officials, without defining whether it’s junior or senior, and the channels are working," Hamdan told the Associated Press.
The officials said talks have been held in Gaza, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey. The three spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the diplomatic contacts.
According to the report, Hamdan did not name any country but three Hamas officials in Gaza said Britain, France and Holland are among them. Two also mentioned Austria, and one added Sweden to the list.
In response to the AP report, officials in Britain, France, Austria and the Holland denied their governments are conducting direct talks with Hamas as the EU in 2003 listed Hamas as a terrorist entity and refuse to deal with it unless it renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist and disarm.
A senior EU diplomat said there had been no change in the EU’s position regarding Hamas, adding the group can only play a role if it meets the demands by the international community and recognizes Israel.
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