Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared Thursday that Canada would not talk with the "genocidal" groups Hamas and Hizbullah, though acknowledging that dialogue is the way to peace in the Middle East, according to a Globe and Mail report.
The report quoted an interview Harper gave CTV, to be aired Saturday.
"We will not solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem, as difficult as that is, through organizations that advocate violence and advocate wiping Israel off the face of the Earth," Harper said.
"It's unfortunate because with Hamas, and with Hizbullah in Lebanon, it has made it very difficult to have dialogue - and dialogue is ultimately necessary to have peace in the long term - but we are not going to sit down with people whose objectives are ultimately genocidal."
According to the report, many Canadians “expressed discomfort with the strong pro-Israeli stand Mr. Harper took soon after his election and again this summer during Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.”
"My own assessment of Canada's role in the Middle East in the past decade or so is we have been completely absent," he said. "I don't see any evidence we were playing any role."
Harper said he made it clear that Canada wants to find ways of dealing with the Palestinian Authority through President Mahmoud Abbas and the moderate Fatah party.
"But I think all of the civilized world is agreed - and it's not just Canada - we can't deal with organizations whose principle and only objective is terrorism and the eradication of the other side."
Canada was the first nation to withdraw financial aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, preceding even the US. While many nations criticized Israel's bombardment of Lebanon this summer, Harper was among very few to describe Israel’s actions as a "measured response."