DUP slams SF on Hamas talks

Declan Kearney is heading the Sinn Fein delegation

Declan Kearney is heading the Sinn Fein delegation

DUP MEP Diane Dodds has slammed Sinn Fein for sending a delegation to meet Hamas – a group widely designated in the West as a terrorist organisation.

Sinn Fein said it has sent a delegation to Istanbul to meet with senior Palestinian representatives of the Hamas movement, from Monday this week.

Hamas was formed in 1987 in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of an armed uprising against Israel – a state it is committed to destroying. It is termed a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US, EU, Canada and Japan.

Mrs Dodds said: “Sinn Fein speak of wanting a ‘viable peace process’ and ‘inclusive negotiations’ with Israel. Yet the fact of the matter is that such talks can only be viable if they do not include lingering commitments to terror and criminality from Hamas and other Palestinian paramilitary groups.”

Declan Kearney, Sinn Fein national party chairperson and head of the delegation, said they had outlined their experience of the Irish peace process.

“We shared our view that Palestinian national political and civic unity should be central to future political progress and that inclusive negotiations are essential to securing a peaceful, democratic, political agreement,” he added.