Mashaal. 'What does one thing have to do with the other?'
Fatah's Abbas. Not a complete failure
The reconciliation talks between the Palestinian factions, which were launched this week in Egypt, were abruptly halted on Thursday due to the ongoing differences of opinion between the parties.
Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal said that the negotiations hit a deadlock due to "foreign conditions" dictated to the negotiating teams that Hamas must recognize the State of Israel.
The last round of talks between Hamas and Fatah was launched in Cairo on Wednesday, in a bid to form a Palestinian unity government. Following two days of discussions, however, it was revealed that the deep disagreements were far from being solved at this stage.
The parties decided therefore to halt the talks and resume the Egyptian-mediated negotiations on April 21.
Sources involved in the talks said that the sides had failed to come to terms on the rebuilding of the PLO institutions and Hamas' desire to become part of the organization.
A second dispute relates to the reform in the Palestinian security organizations, and the third has to do with the unity government's diplomatic plan.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry reported that no progress had been made in the talks, as the two sides had barricaded themselves. But Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah's delegation to Cairo, rejected the Egyptian claims, saying that the negotiations were not a complete failure.
"The talks reached a decisive stage which raised the need for the parties to return to their leaders in order to come back with the final stands and solve the crisis," he said.
According to Mashaal, the bone of contention was "foreign conditions" presented to the Hamas delegation's representatives, which stated that Islamist group must recognize Israel.
"Unfortunately, after I spoke to the representatives in Cairo it was revealed that the reconciliation process had been slowed down due to foreign conditions," the Hamas leader said in an address delivered in Damascus.
"What does recognizing Israel have to do an internal Palestinian reconciliation?" he asked.