Latin America - A Sleeping Threat
LATIN AMERICA: HAMAS PLANS MISSION
Rio de Janeiro, 2 Feb. (AKI) - A delegation of Palestinian militant group Hamas is due to visit Latin American countries shortly in the hope of gaining political and financial support as it risks having foreign funding for the PA trimmed because of its refusal to recognise Israel. Brazilian daily, O Estado de Sao Paolo, quoting Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Kuhri, says the delegation is seeking to win backing from the populist leaders who have shaken up the geopolitics of South America.
The aim is to "dissuade these governments, not through our diplomatic representatives in those countries, but also through ministers and leaders of Hamas, of the idea that we are a terrorist group, and explain that the real problem is the Israeli occupation and they must support the Palestinians," said Abu Kuhri.
The international community - in the forefront the US and EU - is insisting that further funding for the near bankrupt Palestinian Authority will not be forthcoming if a Hamas government does not recognise Israel, renounce violence and honour previous obligations in the peace process.
The delegation, which could be led by Ismail Haniya, indicated as a possible prime minister, would meet Venezuelan president Ugo Chavez, Argentina's Nestor Kirchner, the newly elected Bolivian president Evo Morales, as well as Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. No time frame for the visit was indicated.