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Monday, February 2, 2009

Hamas Rules out Permanent Truce under Gaza Blockade

01/02/2009 | Al Manar

Damascus-based Hamas politburo Khaled Meshaal on Sunday ruled out any "permanent ceasefire" until Israel ends its crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, in talks with Meshaal urged him to be prepared for new hostilities with archfoe Israel.

"The resistance is against a permanent ceasefire," Meshaal said at a news conference in Tehran, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

"While the occupation continues, a permanent ceasefire has no meaning," Meshaal said at the conference, jointly held with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Meshaal, who arrived in Iran earlier on Sunday for his first visit since the war, said the Gaza blockade was a key "priority"."While the blockade continues, we believe the aggression (by Israel) continues," he added.

Meshaal's remarks come as Palestinian officials were gathering in Cairo for talks from Monday aimed at bolstering a ceasefire in Gaza amid Israel's threat to strike at Hamas after Gaza resistance fighters fired rockets into the occupied territories.

Later Sunday Meshaal met Khamenei who urged him to be prepared for any situation even a new "war" with Israel, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. "The Islamic resistance has to be careful and prepared for any situation even the possibility of a new war," Khamenei was quoted as saying.

His eminence said that the recent "victory will lead to more such victories" against Israel. Meshaal thanked Khamenei for the "strong support given by Iran which had a big role in the victory of the people of Gaza," ISNA quoted Meshaal as saying.

Mottaki also called for the lifting of the Gaza blockade. "The Gaza blockade should be lifted and Gaza port and the crossings should be reopened for reconstruction," he said during the conference with Meshaal. The Iranian foreign minister said it is the duty of other countries to help reconstruct Gaza and "exert efforts to offer help to the needy people through the legal government of Hamas."

Mottaki praised "the resistance of Gazans" which had "put out the fire of the Zionist regime," during the war in the impoverished territory. Meshaal was to address students of Tehran University on Monday, and also attend a session of parliament, IRNA reported.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has congratulated Hamas on its "victory" in the war with Israel.

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