The ruling Hamas party in Gaza hailed Wednesday the Norwegian government’s call to the European Union to necessarily initiate dialogue with Hamas.
Hamas’s spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said in a statement, faxed to press, that his party considers such a call as a step in the right direction, urging other European countries to take the same stance and respect what he terms ‘ the democratic choice of the Palestinian people’.

Also, the statement called for putting an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people, particularly amidst the crippling Israeli closure of the coastal territory, imposed since last summer.

The Hamas’s press release pointed out the worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza because of the siege, Israel enforced after the party took over the region in June of last year.

The Norwegian government’s call came after the European parliament passed last month a resolution that condemns Israel’s actions against Gaza as ‘ collective punishment’ and urges President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah to return to dialogue with the Islamist group.

Early this week, both Hamas and Fatah agreed in San’a to a Yemeni-sponsored initiative for reconciliation, following months of stalemate since Hamas seized control of Gaza amidst a power struggle with Abbas’s Fatah party in June2007.

Since coming to power after January 2006’s parliamentary elections, the Islamist Hamas has been sidelined by western governments, United States and Israel, due to Hamas’s opposition to peace talks with Israel until the Hebrew state halts attacks on Palestinians.