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Saudi King Abdullah Photo: AP
Saudi King Abdullah Photo: AP
 
Home destroyed in clashes Photo: AP
Home destroyed in clashes Photo: AP
 
 

Saudi invites Palestinian leaders for talks in Mecca

King Abdullah attempts to mediate inter-factional violence in Gaza, saying violence 'serves only enemies of Islam and Arab nations'; Hamas welcomes invitation, Fatah has yet to respond

Reuters
Published: 01.28.07, 20:22 / Israel News

Saudi Arabia invited Palestinian leaders for talks in the holy city of Mecca, on Sunday.  In response, the Hamas-led Palestinian government said it welcomed the invitation and accepted the offer to meet rival faction Fatah.

 

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"I invite them all ... for an urgent meeting in brotherly Saudi Arabia at the sacred house of God (Mecca's Grand Mosque) to discuss disputes in a neutral (environment) without intervention from any other side," the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted King Abdullah as saying in an open letter.

 

"What is happening in the land of brotherly Palestine serves only the enemies of the Islamic and Arab nations and puts question marks in the minds of the international community which respects our just (Palestinian) cause," SPA quoted.

 

The invitation from the Saudi king was announced on the fourth day of fierce clashes between Palestinians in Gaza in which over 20 people were killed, heightening fears of civil war.

 

"We welcome the invitation by His Majesty King Abdullah and the government appreciates this generous position, which comes in an attempt to resolve Palestinian internal differences," Palestinian Foreign Ministry spokesman Taher An-Nono said.

 

A senior Fatah official said the group welcomed the invitation and was ready to participate in the talks.

It was not immediately clear when the talks would be held.

 

Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal met in Damascus earlier this month to iron out their differences, but they said they needed to hold further talks.

 

"We appeal to all our people, you have to preserve national unity. The language of dialogue and reason must prevail," Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said at the start of an emergency cabinet meeting.

 

Haniyeh urged Abbas to pull Fatah gunmen off the streets. But Fatah spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa said the Hamas-led Executive Force was "the major element in tensions and in the continuation of sabotage and killing."

 

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