(Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hit out at leaders who make official visits to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, telling an Islamic summit on Wednesday such trips deepened the schism among Palestinians.
The remarks by the West Bank-based leader of the Palestinian Authority follow recent visits to Gaza by the Emir of Qatar and the prime minister of Malaysia. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, a major sponsor of Hamas, said this week he too would like to visit the territory.
Addressing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo, Abbas drew a distinction between welcome humanitarian aid for Gaza and "political visits that have an official character, as if there is an independent entity in the Gaza Strip".
"We do not accept any visit or policy that represents a violation of the unity of Palestinian representation," Abbas told the assembled dignitaries, including leaders who have either been to Gaza or have said they would like to go.