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Malaysia banking on good ties with Hamas for peace in Gaza, says Anwar
Published on: Wednesday, May 15, 2024
By: FMT
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Malaysia banking on good ties with Hamas for peace in Gaza, says Anwar
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during his visit to Qatar. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim tonight sought to allay concerns following his meeting with top Hamas leaders, saying it was part of Malaysia’s efforts to support the peace process in Gaza.

Anwar acknowledged that his meeting with a Hamas delegation, led by its leader Ismail Haniyeh, during his official visit to Qatar might have caused anxiety “among Malaysia’s friends, especially in the West”, Bernama reported.

However, he said Putrajaya was banking on its good relations with Hamas, which the US had declared a terrorist organisation, to push for peace in the Gaza Strip.

Last week world leaders, including those from Brazil and China, called for an immediate ceasefire following Israel’s offensive in Rafah.

Anwar went on to cite Qatar as an example, saying the peninsular Arab country had leveraged on its good ties with Hamas in negotiations which led to the release of 109 captives.

“We are also taking the same approach (to leverage our good ties),” he was quoted as saying.

Anwar also met with Haniyeh, the Hamas Political Bureau chief, marking the third time he met the latter.

He first met with Haniyeh when he visited Malaysia in 2020 and 2019.

Anwar also said he could see that Hamas was open to reaching a settlement, but Tel Aviv must first end its atrocities in Gaza and attacks in the West Bank.

“Qatar is taking the same stance and (Qatar Prime Minister) Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told me that in his negotiations with both sides, Hamas has shown a willingness to fulfil several conditions but unfortunately, Israel refused to accept these conditions.”

Anwar said Hamas, like PLO, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, had the right to defend its territory from an occupying foreign power, and Malaysia is taking the approach of supporting peacemaking efforts.

“Our approach is to be in contact with the political body of Hamas and not get involved in any military activities. So, this is what we want to clarify and which I believe our friends (from the West) will raise.”

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