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Hamas says its leaders to meet Jimmy Carter in Cairo
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20:16, April 16, 2008

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A Hamas spokesman said on Wednesday that its delegation is set to travel from the Gaza Strip to Cairo later in the day to meet former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Pro-Hamas daily newspaper Palestine reported that Hamas and the(deposed) Palestinian government, headed by Ismail Haneya, received an invitation to meet former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Cairo.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying that former Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar and its chief lawmaker Said Siam will cross into Egypt through Rafah border passage for the meeting.

According to the report, the meeting between Hamas and Carter will be held in Egypt after Israel prevented the former U.S. president from entering the Gaza Strip for his plan to meet the Hamas leadership.

Hamas and Carter will tackle on the siege Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip since last June after Hamas bloodily chased out Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' forces from the coastal Strip.

Carter is also expected to meet exiled Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Damascus on Friday, despite Israeli and U.S. opposition, said the report.

Carter kicked off a week-long trip to the Middle East on Sunday to look for ways to push the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis. He said his mission tends to be personal.

On Monday, the White House urged Carter not to meet with Hamas leaders.

"The president (George W. Bush) believes that if president Carter wants to go, that he is doing so in his own private capacity, as a private citizen, he is not representing the United States," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.


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