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TEL AVIV – For the last six months, U.S. officials have been conducting secret, back-channel talks with Hamas regarding arrangements for the new Palestinian unity government, BuzzFeed.com confirmed Wednesday
On May 22, WND was first to report on the recent secret U.S.-Hamas talks. Middle Eastern security officials told WND the U.S. held a clandestine meeting in mid-May in Egypt with Ghazi Hamad, the deputy foreign minister of Hamas.
The officials would not say whether the meeting was with a current member of the U.S. government or a former diplomat acting as a proxy for the Obama administration.
Messages were exchanged about Hamas’ intentions as part of a newly formed Palestinian unity government with the rival Fatah party, led by Mahmoud Abbas, the officials told WND.
Now BuzzFeed adds new details about the scope and duration of the alleged U.S.-Hamas talks.
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The website quoted two senior diplomatic sources with direct knowledge of the talks stating the meetings were held the last six months between U.S. representatives and Hamas officials in Egypt, Qatar and Jordan.
The sources said discussions centered on a cease-fire with Israel and the Fatah-Hamas unity government, with the U.S. securing a Hamas pledge to continue to abide by the truce.
Secretary of State John Kerry recently affirmed the U.S. will cooperate with the new unity government.
Contacted by BuzzFeed, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf denied U.S-Hamas talks were held.
“These assertions are completely untrue,” Harf stated. “There is no such back channel. Our position on Hamas has not changed.”
Harf reiterated a statement she made at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“As you all know, Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization,” she said. “The United States does not and will not provide it assistance. Per longstanding U.S. policy, we do not have any contact with Hamas. No members of Hamas and no ministers affiliated with Hamas, as I said, are part of this government.”