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Wed Apr 3, 2013, 10:35 PM

Hamas–Fatah Reconciliation Talks In Doubt

Source: Abbas to refuse to participate in Cairo summit if Hamas officials attend

Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat—A well-informed Palestinian source has told Asharq Al-Awsat that President Mahmoud Abbas will refuse to participate in any Arab League summit also attended by Hamas.

Just days after the announcement of a proposed Arab League meeting in Cairo between Fatah and Hamas, to be held under the auspices of the Egyptian presidency hopes of Palestinian reconciliation, have been thrown into doubt once more. This meeting was arranged after the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, called for a special Arab summit to be held in Cairo to discuss Palestinian reconciliation.

The source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is prepared to attend such a summit on the condition that no Hamas representatives attend. He stressed that meetings with Hamas and other Palestinian factions should be held following the summit.

The Palestinian source emphasized that the Palestinian Authority’s legitimacy would be harmed if Hamas were to attend.

He added that although the Palestinian president had initially welcomed the emir of Qatar’s proposal, the decision of Fatah and Abbas to attend the summit will largely depend on who else is invited, as well as the special meeting’s stated objectives.

This represents a retreat from initial acceptance of this Arab League meeting. Speaking on Thursday, Fatah official Yahya Rabaht confirmed that Egypt will host initial consultations with Fatah and Hamas officials to relaunch national reconciliation talks


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