Van Nuys, CA – Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today in response to developments at the annual Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

“The House of Representatives sent an observer delegation to the annual Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting this week to assess the prospects for the United States rejoining the organization. Congress sent its last official delegation to the IPU in 1994, and officially terminated its membership in the Organization on October 1, 1999.

“After the U.S. observer delegation completed its participation in the main assembly, it was discovered that two members of Hamas were at the IPU meeting and were registered officially as ‘advisers’ on the Palestinian Delegation. The Hamas ‘advisers’ and the Iranian delegation disrupted the speech of Israeli delegation head Sylvan Shalom, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister.

“More than three years ago, the Quartet – made up of the United States, Russia, the EU and the UN – established three principles for Hamas participation in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap. This is also U.S. policy.

“Unless the IPU can assure us that Hamas will not participate as part of the official Palestinian delegation at any future meetings before the Quartet conditions are satisfied, I will be recommending to my colleagues that the U.S. House of Representatives not rejoin the IPU.”