A Sinn Féin delegation has travelled to Istanbul this weekend to meet with senior Palestinian representatives of the Hamas movement, including Dr Musa Abu Marzouk.
Following these meetings, Sinn Féin National Party Chairperson and head of the Sinn Féin delegation Declan Kearney, said: “Sinn Féin supports the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. We have consistently advocated the need for a viable peace process as the framework within which to achieve that, and bring about peace in the region.
“In line with our party’s policy of expressing solidarity, emphasising national unity and engaging with all Palestinian representatives we met with senior Hamas representatives on November 26 and 27 in Istanbul.
“The Sinn Féin delegation outlined our experience of the Irish peace process and gave an analysis of the current political situation in Ireland. 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.
“The unremitting blanket repression by the Israeli state against Palestinian citizens in both Gaza and the West Bank is an international scandal. The deteriorating situation in Jerusalem is a particular cause for alarm.
“November 29 is a significant day for the Palestinian people. It is the UN recognised ‘International Day of Solidarity for Palestine’. Sinn Féin has a long history of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people.
“Our meetings with Hamas in Istanbul, coupled with the visit later this week to Ramallah by Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson to the Fatah Seventh Congress, and attendance by two members of Sinn Féin Republican Youth (SFRY), Bronagh Bradley and Caolán Mc Ginley, at the ‘First International Youth Camp’ in Palestine, are important initiatives in our party’s sustained support for the Palestinian cause.”
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.