Photo: AP
'Hamas has no choice.' Suleiman
Photo: AP
'Foreign agendas.' Khaled Mashaal
Photo: AFP

Egypt rebukes Hamas over 'foot-dragging' in Palestinian reconciliation

Intelligence chief tells Palestinian delegation Islamist group not interested in ending rift with Fatah, wants to seize control of West Bank. 'Hamas promoting foreign agendas,' he adds

During a recent meeting with a Palestinian delegation in Cairo, Egyptian Intelligence head General Omar Suleiman accused Hamas, including its politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, of violating agreements, Palestinian sources told Al-Jazeera Thursday.


Referring to Egypt's efforts to reconcile Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, Suleiman said, "We (Egypt) don't work for Hamas or Mashaal," adding that the Islamist group's conduct was a source of embarrassment to Egypt.


A rift between the two groups widened in 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza after routing Fatah forces loyal to Abbas, who governs the West Bank.


During the meeting with the Palestinians, which was held a week-and-a-half ago, Suleiman expressed indignation over Hamas' "foot-dragging" and said Egypt refuses to retract the reconciliation agreement it had presented.


"Hamas has no choice but to sign the agreement," the Intel chief reportedly said.


Fatah unilaterally signed the reconciliation pact in October.


In an apparent reference to Iran, Suleiman accused Hamas of promoting "foreign agendas" that have nothing to do with the Palestinian issue.


"I know some members of this delegation are linked to Hamas. I want them to tell Hamas that it cannot force our hand," Suleiman reportedly said during the meeting, "We will not be Hamas and Mashaal's hostages."


Suleiman said Egypt had promised Hamas it would address the terror group's reservations vis-à-vis the reconciliation deal "after they sign and begin to implement it." He said Hamas' concerns "lacked substance," adding that the agreement would not be revised. "If it will (be changed), I'll resign," said Suleiman.


According to the Egyptian official, "Hamas is not interested in ending the rift (with Fatah).They are taking pleasure in establishing a fictitious authority in Gaza and want to rule the West Bank as well."


Reuters contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 12.17.09, 11:03
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