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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Israel talks snub for Sinn Fein
Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will travel to the Middle East
The Israeli government has refused to meet Gerry Adams during his peace mission in the Middle East this week.

The Sinn Fein president is going to Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories at the invitation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Sinn Fein said the mission was meant to encourage efforts to resolve the Irsraeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Israelis said they would not meet him because he is to speak to Hamas, viewed by them as a terrorist group.

An Israeli embassy spokesman in Dublin said Israel "would not talk to those who meet Hamas".

Mr Adams, who leaves for the Middle East on Tuesday, said: "The intention was always to go to Israel and to Palestine.

'Wrong position'

"We have worked with the Israeli embassy in putting this trip together, they have wished us well in terms of our endeavours.

"I understand that the Israeli government will not meet with us. They have a position which I think is the wrong position."

Earlier, the Sinn Fein president said that "genuine negotiation and dialogue" were imperative.

"While no two conflicts are identical there are key conflict resolution principles which can be applied in any situation," he said.

"These include inclusive dialogue, respect for electoral mandates and respect for human rights and international law."

Israel has been conducting military operations in the coastal Gaza Strip since Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier in June.

Aid frozen

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed while 11 Israeli civilians have been wounded by rocket fire from Gaza.

The Sinn Fein president is travelling to the Middle East on Tuesday and will meet with Mr Abbas and members of the Palestine Legislative Council, including Hamas.

Hamas, which forms the current Palestinian administration, is banned by the EU and US and branded a terrorist group.

Earlier this year the US and EU froze aid to the Palestinian Authority because Hamas has refused to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

Mr Adams said the Sinn Fein leadership had shared their experience of the Northern Ireland peace process "with those seeking peaceful alternatives to conflict both in the Basque country and Sri Lanka".

The West Belfast MP led his party into a devolved government in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement was brokered in 1998.

The Sinn Fein president is due to travel to the Middle East

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