Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Speak to Hamas and the Taliban!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 26th October, 2008

  The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, has slammed the United States and Europe for failing to make any headway on peace in the Middle East and has called for an end to the boycott of talking to Hamas. In an interview with Sveriges (Swedish) Radio, he said it was a disgrace that the conflict has not yet been resolved and he accused the West of a lack of political will. I believe he is absolutely right that it is grotesque to believe that a two-state solution involving a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel can be achieved without talking to the party which won the last Palestinian parlaimentary elections and controls the Gaza Strip. This is a huge challenge for whoever wins the US presidential election, but it is a nettle which must be grasped. Does Barack Obama have the courage?

Mr Ahtisaari also said that it may be soon time to talk to the Taliban in Afghanistan as well. This will be an even more controversial suggestion in some quarters given the energy with which NATO is fighting against them. Having followed Afghan affairs closely since 1969, when I first travelled across the country, I am well aware how ghastly the Taliban regime was and was delighted when they were ousted. But anyone who believes that a military victory can be achieved over their insurgency is frankly living in cloud cuckoo land.

(photo Martti Ahtisaari/World Economic Forum)

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