Hamas, Fatah postpone talks
Palestinian talks once again reach a deadlock. Hamas said Tuesday planned reconciliation talks with the Fatah have been postponed due to a spat over the venue. "Fatah has asked to be excused from taking part in the meeting which had been due to take place in Damascus tomorrow (Wednesday)," said a Hamas statement released in the Syrian capital. "Contacts will be made between the two sides to arrange a new date," AFP cited the statement.
A Fatah source in the West Bank said that the faction had asked that the talks be held "anywhere but Damascus" but that Hamas had refused.
Press reports said that the Fatah request followed a row between Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at an Arab summit in Libya earlier this month over policy towards peace talks with Israel.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum confirmed that the movement had rejected a Fatah request for a change of venue.
"We condemn Fatah's insistence on a change of venue, which goes against what we agreed at the last meeting in Damascus, which was that the next meeting should be held in the same place."