February 14, 2006 in Nation/World

Venezuela would gladly host Hamas

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s vice president said Monday his country would welcome leaders from Hamas “with pleasure” if they visit the country as part of a South American tour following their victory in Palestinian elections.

Asked if the Venezuelan government would receive the Islamic militant group, Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel told reporters: “Of course we will. What is the problem?”

“If they come, with pleasure,” Rangel said. “They’ve just won an election.”

Since Hamas’ victory last month, the United States and other Western nations have threatened to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in badly needed aid unless the group, which is responsible for dozens of suicide bombings, recognizes Israel and renounces violence.

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