Abbas. Pressure
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Mashaal. Won't meet
Photo: Reuters

Abbas: Palestinian rivalry must end

Following meeting with Syrian president in Damascus, Palestinian leader says 'no one will respect us if we continue this way'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that the rivalry between the Palestinian factions must end.


Speaking at a press conference in Damascus following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Abbas said that "no one is glad to see the ongoing factionalism. No one will respect us if we continue this way."


Upon his arrival in Syria on Saturday, Abbas said that the Egyptian mediators had managed to reach an advanced stage in the talks between the Fatah and Hamas factions. He even hinted that an Egyptian statement would be issued, followed by a meeting with representatives of all the factions, but did not elaborate.


Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal made similar remarks during a conference on Jerusalem held in Qatar. "We have reached a compromise, and we ask God for success," he said.


He suggested that both Fatah and Hamas release prisoners jailed in Gaza and the West Bank and stop all publications aimed at hurting each other, in a bid to create "a positive atmosphere."


Mashaal went on to say that the United States had disrupted the compromise efforts in the past and that this was an excellent time for a compromise because both the US and Israel are busy with internal issues.


"This is an opportunity received from God," he added.


Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem, who attended the Abbas-Assad meeting, said that Syria supports Egypt's efforts to reach a compromise between the factions and offers to help.


Several hours before Abbas' arrival in Damascus on Saturday, a delegation on behalf of Hamas landed in the Syrian capital from the Gaza Strip. The delegation, which includes former Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, arrived in order to meet with Hamas leaders residing in Damascus.


'Abbas refused'

According to Hamas sources, the delegation arrived in order to hold an evaluation of the situation following talks with the Egyptian leadership.


Palestinian sources in Damascus told the paper that Palestinian leaders in the Syrian capital have been exerting efforts to hold a meeting between Abbas and Mashaal, but to no avail so far. According to the sources, the Palestinian president is not interested in such a meeting.


Hamas denied reports that the movement agreed to extend Abbas' tenure beyond the month of January.


"There is nothing in the Palestinian law enabling the president of the Palestinian Authority to extend his tenure, not even by one day beyond the stated date, and therefore the call for elections is final," said the chairman of the Palestinian Parliament's constitution committee on behalf of Hamas.


Fawzi Barhoum, an organization spokesman, told the newspaper that "everything published in regards to Hamas agreement to extend Abbas' tenure is a media invention aimed at harming Hamas' stance."


פרסום ראשון: 10.12.08, 11:08
 new comment
This will delete your current comment