Carter to Meet Hamas Leader Despite White House Policy

State Dept. 'counseled against' Syrian trip
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2008 4:42 PM CDT
Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Shameya during his funeral in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, April 9, 2008.   (AP Photo/Hatem Omar)
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(Newser) – Jimmy Carter plans to visit leaders of Palestinian extremist group Hamas in Syria next week despite warnings by the State Department that the rendezvous violates the Bush administration’s policy of isolating terrorist organizations, Reuters reports. Carter has scheduled talks with Khaled Meshaal, who heads Hamas’ Syrian branch and claims responsibility for suicide bombings targeting Israel.

"US government policy is that Hamas is a terrorist organization and we don't believe it is in the interests of our policy or in the interests of peace to have such a meeting," a spokesman said. Carter has been critical of the Bush administration’s unilateral approach to foreign policy in the past, particularly on Iran and the invasion of Iraq.