Friday, May 05, 2006


The Moroccan government is rescinding entry visas for a Hamas delegation, which planned to participate in a conference in Casablanca, according to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

The delegation included Mousa Abu Marzouq and Muhammad Nazzal, both of whom belong to what is known as the political bureau of Hamas in Damascus, and the movement's representative in Lebanon, Usama Hamdan. Sources close to Hamas told the newspaper that the Moroccan Embassy in Damascus contacted members of the delegation and requested they return their passports, citing technical faults with their visas, but the visas were subsequently cancelled.

An embassy official explained that if they were to travel to Morocco, they would be sent back to the airport, and advised them not to go.

Hamas members were invited to participate in the National Arab Conference, which takes place every year in a different Arab city. More than 250 prominent personalities are expected to participate in this year's gathering.

Hamas has been facing diplomatic isolation from both Western countries and Arab states since its rise to power in January, because of its refusal to recognize Israel, to renounce terrorism and to accept previously signed agreements.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit refused to meet Mahmoud A-Zahhar, who heads external relations in the Palestinian Authority, when A-Zahhar stopped over in Cairo on Thursday. This was the second time Cairo has snubbed Hamas representatives.

A-Zahhar is seeking financial aid and political support from Arab countries.

Jordanian officials have also refused to greet Hamas representatives in the country. Jordan and Egypt have peace agreements with Israel.


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