Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Mecca Agreement

[Translation]

Ms. Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l’Île, BQ): Lalonde.F@parl.gc.ca

"Mr. Speaker, since the signing of the Mecca agreement, which allowed for the creation of a Palestinian government made up Hamas, Fatah and other groups, there is renewed hope for resuming negotiations with Israel. Many countries, the European Union and even the American consulate in Jerusalem have met with non-Hamas ministers of the Palestinian government. However, the Minister of Information, Mustafa Barghouti, a non-Hamas member of the Palestinian authority, is in Ottawa today and the Minister of Foreign Affairs refused to meet with him.

By refusing this meeting, is the Minister of Foreign Affairs perhaps not missing an excellent opportunity to contribute to the resolution of this dispute-"

[English]

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC): MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

"Mr. Speaker, while l was speaking with President Abbas about this particular situation I reminded him that we are in fact very closely following developments in the peace process. This is a very sensitive issue, as we all know, and there is much progress that is being made.

I advised the president that we continue to support his efforts to bring peace, in particular to the territories, but until such time as we see progress in the area of the quartet principles, which call for the recognition of Israel, which call for the cessation of violence and which call for the road map to be adhered to, we are not going to deal directly with a terrorist organization, namely, Hamas."

[Translation]

Ms. Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l’Île, BQ):

"Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate that Minister Barghouti is not a member of Hamas. He is a member of another group.

If Condoleezza Rice was able to meet with Mahmoud Abbas and other non-Hamas members, why is it that Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs cannot meet with them? Is his approach not too dogmatic? If we hope to contribute to the resolution of a dispute between two parties, we must be able to communicate with both parties. I repeat, the minister is not a member of Hamas."

[English]

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC):

"Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the righteous indignation. Perhaps she did not hear me. I do speak directly with the president. I speak with Mr. Abbas quite regularly about the situation and his efforts. I commend him. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I have expressed support for the work he is doing.

This is an ongoing process. We hope that we will see the unity government express in a more forthright way its respect of and adherence to the road map, to the principles the quartet has clearly laid out. I know the members opposite do not want to hear the answer, but I will tell them again. We will deal directly with President Abbas. We will continue to support the Palestinian people through aid. We will continue to support the peace process."