Barack Obama sparket Robert Malley som Midtøsten-rådgiver med en gang det ble kjent at Malley har ført samtaler med Hamas.

One of Barack Obama’s Middle East policy advisers disclosed yesterday that he had held meetings with the militant Palestinian group Hamas – prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links with him.

Robert Malley told The Times that he had been in regular contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza and is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. Such talks, he stressed, were related to his work for a conflict resolution think-tank and had no connection with his position on Mr Obama’s Middle East advisory council.

«I’ve never hidden the fact that in my job with the International Crisis Group I meet all kinds of people,» he added.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr Obama, responded swiftly: «Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.» The rapid departure of Mr Malley followed 48 hours of heated clashes between John McCain, the Republican nominee-elect, and Mr Obama over Middle East policy.

Malley var del av Bill Clintons forhandlingsteam ved Camp David, og har siden gitt en kritisk versjon av hva Arafat ble tilbudt.

Barack Obama sacks adviser over talks with Hamas

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