Middle East

The Latest: Hotel backs out of holding Hamas news conference

Here is the latest on the presentation of Hamas' new political program (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

Hamas says it had to delay the presentation of its new political program after a Doha hotel withdrew consent to host a news conference by the group.

The news conference by Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas leader in exile, was to begin at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) Monday at a five-star hotel.

Shortly before the start of the event, Hamas sent a text message saying the hotel had withdrawn consent. Hamas says a news conference is now set to start at 8:45 p.m. (17:45 GMT) at a different hotel in Doha.

The new political program is meant to help the Islamic militant group break out of its international isolation. The manifesto does not formally replace the group's fiery 1987 founding charter, but adopts more conciliatory language.

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4:35 p.m.

Hamas officials say the group's leader will present a new political program that accepts statehood in parts of historic Palestine, but does not drop the quest for "liberating" all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, including what is now Israel.

The program is to be made public Monday in Qatar by Khaled Mashaal, the leader-in-exile of Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to reveal details to the media.

The five-page document adopts seemingly more moderate language in hopes of helping Hamas break out of its international isolation.

Hamas redefines itself as a national liberation group, distancing it from its parent movement, the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed by Gaza neighbor Egypt.