Annapolis statement "waste of time", Hamas says

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GAZA, Nov 27 (Reuters) A senior Hamas official described as a ''waste of time'' a joint Palestinian-Israeli statement agreed today at the Annapolis West Asia conference and read out by US President George W Bush.

''What we saw is just a farewell party for George Bush and a hopeless attempt to portray him as a great leader who succeeded in doing what other American leaders failed to do,'' said Ahmed Youssef, a senior figure in the Islamist movement in Gaza.

''Annapolis is not the path to take us to a real peace,'' he told Reuters. ''It was a waste of time.'' Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters earlier rallied against the conference in Gaza, where the Islamist movement, victors in last year's parliamentary election, seized control in June from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

REUTERS JT RAI2331

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