Ehud Olmert, Israeli deputy Prime Minister, reiterated on Monday the Israeli position which rejects the participation of Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian Legislative elections slated for January 2006.
Olmert said that Israel will disrupt these elections if Hamas participates, saying that “Israel will not allow Hamas to run in the elections, under any circumstances”.
The statements of Olmert came during an interview with the Israeli Radio on his Sunday meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas in Barcelona; Abbas and Olmert met one the sidelines on the Euromed Conference.
According to media sources in Barcelona, Abbas and Olmert agreed to discuss ways to increase the economical cooperation between the two sides.
Olmert is slated to meet with the Palestinian Finance Minister, Salaam Fayyad, next weekend in London on the sidelines of a summit for the G8 group of wealthy countries scheduled to be held there.
Olmert claimed that Hamas does not want peace, and that it is considered a threat to peace, and to the Palestinians themselves, adding that “terrorism” is the main obstacle which is obstructing peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The meeting between Abbas and Olmert came one day after the opening of the first Palestinian-controlled terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt at Rafah, under the supervision of E.U monitors.
The Euromed summit held in Barcelona marks the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which unites the EU and 10 Near Eastern and North African neighbors.
The summit is considered the only multilateral environment were Israeli and Palestinian leaders meet regularly to discuss cooperation since no official negotiations are being held.
Before the summit, Abbas and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a joint news conference. Blaire, whose country holds the EU presidency, said that the E.U wishes to develop its ties with the Palestinian leadership and build its role in the Middle East peace process.
The Israeli official said Olmert and Abbas had agreed to examine ways of developing economic cooperation, adding that the talks were held in a very cordial atmosphere.