Hamas says asked by US to keep silent on talks

Hamas says asked by US to keep silent on talks

Islamist group source says senior American officials request contacts remain secret ‘so as not to rouse Jewish lobby’
Roee Nahmias

 A senior Hamas figure said Friday that official and unofficial US sources have asked the Islamist group to refrain from making any statements regarding contacts with Washington, this following reports that a senior American official is due to arrive in an Arab country in the coming days to relay a telegram from the Obama Administration.

 The Hamas figure told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that the Americans fear discussing the talks publicly would “rouse the Jewish lobby and other pressure groups in the US and cause them to pressure the administration to suspend all talks with Hamas.”

 The Hamas figure, who is close to Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the government in Gaza, added, “This is a sensitive subject. The Americans don’t want anyone to comment on it because this would catch the attention of pressure groups (in the US) and cause problems.”

 He said Hamas’ exiled leadership in Damascus is overseeing the contacts behind closed doors.

 On Wednesday a Washington-based Arabic newspaper quoted a senior official as saying that an American envoy is scheduled to meet with Hamas representatives in an Arab country and hand them a letter from the Obama Administration.

 According to the report, the official said Washington has no choice but to work with Hamas due to its influence in the Arab and Islamic world.

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