Sharon to meet Abbas on Oct. 2, calls for Hamas election ban

Israeli Prime Minister, announcing October 2 talks with Mahmoud Abbas, said on Sunday he had asked the United Nations and European Union to press the Palestinian leader to ban Hamas from a legislative election.

"I talked today to the secretary-general of the United Nations. I talked to every European leader about this issue," Ariel Sharon, who attended last week's U.N. World Summit, said in an address to U.S. Jewish leaders.

"I asked them that they will understand our position about that and they have to put pressure that the Hamas people can participate in the elections only once they hand over their weapons and they ban the Hamas covenant," he said in English.

Hamas backs the Jewish state's destruction and is a potent force in Gaza, where Israel completed a pullout last Monday.

Abbas hopes Hamas' participation for the first time in a legislative election, scheduled for January 25, will move the fundamentalist Islamic group away from confrontation with Israel and towards a role in mainstream Palestinian politics.

Sharon said Abbas was making a "major mistake" and reiterated that Israel would not cooperate with the Palestinians in facilitating balloting in the occupied West Bank if Hamas ran on the ballot without first disarming, reports Reuters.

According to Peoples Daily, Sharon listed two conditions for Hamas' participation in the polls disarmament and renunciation of its call for Israel's destruction.

"It's not that we are not going to let them hold elections, but we are not going to provide support unless they do these two things," he explained.

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