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Abbas: No inter-Palestinian talks if Hamas rejects PLO

Source: Xinhua | 02-02-2009 09:19

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

CAIRO, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned here Sunday that there will be no inter-Palestinian talks unless Hamas accepts the legitimacy of the Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Abbas told reporters at a press conference that "we make it clear that... no dialogue with those who rejects the Palestine Liberation Organization," referring to the rival Hamas movement who took control of the Gaza Strip in a coup in June 2007.

"The organization (PLO) is the only representative of the Palestinians," he added.

In a speech addressed in Qatar last week, Hamas' exiled leader Khalid Meshaal advocated a new umbrella body to represent the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and in the Diaspora, calling for "a new political reference for the Palestinian people."

On the situation of the war-torn Gaza Strip, Abbas held Hamas responsible for provoking the 22-day war which claimed some 1,300 lives and wounded more than 5,500 in the enclave.

"They (Hamas)... staked the Palestinians' blood and put their lives, dreams and the prospect of an independent Palestinian state in jeopardy," he said.

Abbas, who arrived here Sunday on a two-day unscheduled visit, will hold talks Monday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the latest developments of the Palestinian issue, particularly the current situation in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas' Cairo tour was due to "a breakthrough" reached recently between Egyptian mediators and representatives of Hamas-led Palestinian factions on the Gaza issue, said the Egyptian MENA news agency.

"Such a state of affairs offers an opportunity that should not be missed," Nabil Shaath, the personal representative of the Palestinian president, was quoted as saying on Sunday.

After his stop in Cairo, Abbas is expected to fly to the Czech Republic for more talks with Europeans.

On Saturday, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of the Palestinian Presidency in Ramallah, announced that Abbas suddenly postponed the scheduled official visit to the Czech Republic, which is the current chair country of the European Union.

He said the current sudden developments urged the president to head immediately to Cairo to follow up the ceasefire agreement with Israel and the inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Egypt has proposed a "lasting" truce between Israel and Palestinian militant groups as of Feb. 5 and resume the inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue on Feb. 22, which was boycotted by Hamas in November.

The last direct talks between Fatah and Hamas took place in Yemen in March 2008, but yielded nothing.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei