Abbas, Meshaal expected to meet in Damascus
Mediators are seeking to bring together Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal, in an effort to defuse the internal crisis between their two parties. One source said that Islamic Jihad and Egypt were behind the moves to "contain the explosive situation in the Gaza Strip after the recent clashes."
Islamic Jihad leader Mohammed al-Hindi confirmed to AFP the development, adding that a meeting could take place on Tuesday. He said a meeting between Abbas and Damascus-based Meshaal could break the standoff.
"I hope that these efforts will be rewarded by the signature of a national accord in Cairo in the coming days," Hindi said Friday.
Sources close to Abbas said that he had received an invitation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to visit Damascus. That trip "could take place on January 16 (Tuesday), and president Abbas is not against a meeting with Meshaal," one of them said.
Asharq al Awsat newspaper reported Friday that an independent Palestinian MP, Ziad Abu Amr, and Mohammed Rashid, a former advisor to the late Palestinian leader and Fatah founder Yasser Arafat, had met with Meshaal to pave the way for a meeting. During the talks in Damascuse, there was a progress over forming a coalition, the report said.