Palestinian parliament fails to convene as Blair set to meet Abbas
The Palestinian parliament failed to convene again Sunday, further entrenching the political crisi in the wake of last month's takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas.
Only 10 lawmakers showed up for the session in Ramallah and 23 in Gaza, deputy speaker Hassan Al Qureishi said. Sixty-seven lawmakers in the 132-member body need to be present for quorum.
According to AFP, the chamber was called to convene to vote on the government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, which President Mahmoud Abbas appointed after Hamas' June 15 takeover of Gaza Strip. It was at least the second time since that the Palestinian parliament has failed to meet.
Meanwhile, Tony Blair, the new Mideast peace envoy, will hold his first meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, a Palestinian official told the AP. The meeting will take place at Abbas' headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Last week, Blair made his debut as the envoy of the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators - the U.S., the EU, the U.N. and Russia. Blair's mandate is limited: to help Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas build the Palestinian economy and infrastructure.
Blair is expected to arrive in the region Monday for a two-day visit, and has also scheduled talks with Israeli leaders.
On its part, Hamas warned Blair on Saturday that his credibility as the new envoy will be damaged if he ignores the movement. "We warn the new envoy that any attempt to marginalize the Hamas movement will cost him his credibility," said Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar, a former Palestinian foreign minister.
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