Merkel Irritated by Hamas Minister Visit | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 18.05.2006
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Merkel Irritated by Hamas Minister Visit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed irritation over the visit of a Hamas official with Berlin politicians. Refugees Minister Atef Adwan even had talks with a lawmaker from Merkel's coalition partner, the SPD.

Atef Adwan's unwanted visit to Germany vexed Angela Merkel

Atef Adwan's unwanted visit to Germany vexed Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was deeply annoyed about a visit to Germany by a Hamas minister in the Palestinian government. Clearly, Merkel would have preferred it if Palestinian Refugees Minister Atef Adwan had not traveled to Berlin on Tuesday.

"The chancellor described this business as particularly irritating. She spoke of it as unpleasant and annoying," government spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters.

Adwan's call on lawmakers from the opposition Free Democratic Party (FDP) and coalition partner Social Democrats (SPD) was described as brief, following the end of the Hamas minister's visit to EU member Sweden. The 40-minute conversation with SPD United Nations subcommittee chairman Detlef Dzembritzki would seem particularly vexing to Merkel, considering that the Merkel administration has asked for strict adherence to the European Union boycott on contact with the Hamas regime.

Legislator wanted to make Palestinians think more

Wahlen in Palästina Hamas Reaktionen

Hamas' election victory has left Palestine ostracized in the West

Dzembritzki defended the spontaneous meeting with Adwan, saying he had no intention of undermining the boycott and calling the consultations "private."

"It was an opportunity to make our (Germany's) positions clear," the SPD parliamentarian said afterwards. "The conversation just may have achieved the goal of making the Palestinian side think a little more."

At Wednesday's cabinet meeting, Chancellor Merkel discussed the "unpleasant" business, while Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier informed his colleagues about the content of the talks, which supposedly dealt with the possibility of Germany granting direct aid to the Palestinians.

Currently, the EU has frozen monetary support to the Palestinian government until the radical Islamic Hamas rejects all violence and recognizes the Israeli state, a fact that both Merkel and Steinmeier reiterated on Wednesday.

Sweden allowed further EU travel

Hamas in Moskau

Until the Swedish visit, only Russia, here FM Sergey Lavrov, had received Hamas officials

Until Adwan's travel to Stockholm, only non-EU member Russia had received any Hamas representatives since the militant group won parliamentary elections in January.

Days ago, Berlin had sent a note to Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson formally protesting against Sweden's decision to issue Adwan a Schengen visa. German authorities had also expressed that Adwan was persona non grata in this country.

That Adwan was then able to travel on his visa to other EU countries could be attributed to the fact that Swedish authorities did not enter his status as "problematic" in their computers according to a European diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous.

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