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Hamas vows to form national coalition govt
Updated: 2006-02-13 10:19

Visiting leader of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) said on Sunday that the group, which won last month's parliamentary elections, would form a Palestinian national coalition government soon.

Khalid Mashal, Hamas' politburo chief who has been based in Damascus, made the announcement shortly after arriving in Sudan on a three-day visit.

"The new Palestinian government will be a national coalition government with the participation of persons from different backgrounds," Mashal told a press conference at the Khartoum International Airport.

He said that the new Palestinian government would carry out reforms to "achieve an honorable life for the Palestinian people and liberate the Palestinian lands from the Israeli occupation" as Hamas had promised to the Palestinians before the elections.

On a recent Russian invitation to Hamas for talks, Mashal said that he was to pay a visit to Moscow in the near future.

"Moscow will be a very important station on our delegation's journey around the world to exhibit Hamas' positions," he said, adding that the agenda of Hamas' talks with Russia would be open.

Meanwhile, the Hamas leader reiterated that Hamas would stick to its right of resistance against the Israeli occupation.

But Mashal indicated that Hamas would revise its ways of resistance including attacks and suicide bombings on Israeli targets.

Hamas "wants to adopt a new political approach based on our principles, but rejects any pressure, threat or provocation," he said.

Mashal also reiterated that Hamas would not acknowledge the existence of Israel before the Jewish state acknowledges the rights of the Palestinian people including the right of establishing an independent Palestinian state of full sovereignty on the territories to be liberated from the Israeli occupation.

In addition, Mashal also said that the Hamas delegation's trip to Arab and Islamic countries was aimed at "asking their support for the Palestinian people and the new government."

Mashal, heading a senior Hamas delegation, arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum earlier in the day. He is scheduled to hold a series of talks with Sudanese officials.

After winning the Jan. 25 Palestinian parliamentary polls by a landslide, Hamas is expected to from the next Palestinian government.

The group, sworn to Israel's destruction, has been under mounting pressures to renounce violence, recognize the existence of Israel and accept previous Palestinian agreements with Israel including the internationally-backed road map peace plan.

On Saturday, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip said that a Hamas delegation might visit Moscow by the end of February, but added that the group had not received an official invitation from Russia.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference in Madrid, Spain that Russia was ready to invite Hamas members for talks in Moscow in the near future following the group 's landslide election victory.

Putin also said that Russia has never considered Hamas a terror organization.

The Russia talk offer to Hamas has drawn criticism from Israel and the U.S. also urged Moscow to clarify its stance.

In response, Moscow said that the invitation to Hamas for talks was aimed at engaging Hamas in peace efforts toward a two-state settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Russia is a member of the international Mideast peacemaking group called the Quartet Committee which also includes the United Nations, the U.S. and the European Union.

The Quartet urged Hamas at a Jan. 30 meeting in London to give up violence, recognize Israel and accept previous Palestinian accords with Israel.

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