ANKARA: The Turkish foreign minister on Saturday criticized the U.S. decision to add Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh’s name in its terror list.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Palest-inian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in the southern Antalya province, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the timing of the U.S. decision was “suspicious”.
On Wednesday, the U.S. government dubbed Haniyeh a “specially designated global terrorist” and imposed a raft of sanctions against him.
“They took this decision at a time when unity inside Palestine has started to be se-cured,” Cavusoglu said, referring to the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas. He said Hamas had participated in the 2005 elections, which was observed by Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe and was evaluated to be democratic and transparent. Since then, the foreign minister added, Hamas has acted on political grounds.
Al-Maliki expressed the Palestinian leadership’s condemnation of the U.S. decision considering its timing as “an attempt to thwart efforts to complete and succeed the reconciliation process”
He stressed that the Palestinian leadership will “pursue [the reconciliation] with Mr. Ismail Haniyeh as the chief of political bureau of the Hamas Movement] […} for the sake of the Palestinian people”.? On Washington’s announced plans to withhold $65 million of aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), al-Maliki pointed out that, the U.S. decision aims at puting pressures on the Palestinian Authority.