The Associated Press today quotes the president of Sudan, Omar el-Bashir, saying that when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell visited him in late October, Powell did not ask him to close down the offices of Hamas: "we did not get a request to close their offices. … We only heard that from the media." This is quite strange and inconsistent, as the State Department lists Hamas as a "designated foreign terrorist organization" and Powell himself on occasion has pressed governments to close its offices – for example, the Syrian government in May 2003. Is the Sudanese president telling the truth? A reporter at State's noon briefing should ask this question. (November 10, 2003)
Nov. 15, 2003 update: The Kuwait News Agency paraphrases Jamal Essa, the Hamas man in Khartoum, today saying "that Hamas did not close its office in Khartoum and that it is still performing its media and political activities without any problem."