Abbas, Mashaal call for reconciliation talks
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday the rift between his Palestinian faction Fatah and rival Hamas must end. The Hamas leader, meanwhile, said the time is right for reconciliation.
Abbas was in the Syrian capital for a two-day visit to brief the Syrian leadership. "No one is happy to see the current divisions continuing," Abbas told reporters in Damascus following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad. "No one would ever respect us if we go on," he added, according to the AP.
He added upon his arrival in Syria Saturday that Egyptian mediation had reached an advanced stage. He said there will be a declaration in Cairo followed by a meeting with all Palestinian factions, but did not give details.
On his part, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal seemed to echo those views Sunday. "We have reached a formula (for reconciliation) and we ask God to give it success," he said in Doha, Qatar. According to him, Fatah and Hamas will release all political prisoners in Gaza and the West Bank and halt media campaigns meant to undermine each other to provide a "positive atmosphere" for Palestinian reconciliation.
Mashaal said the time is now right because the Americans and Israelis were busy with internal problems. "This is an opportunity God has given us," he said.