Palestinian president rules out talks with Hamas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out talks with Hamas on Wednesday unless it meets conditions including previous Gaza Strip border arrangements. Abbas was in Egypt and met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, discussing the crisis on Egypt's border where Palestinians blew holes in the frontier unleashing a flood of Gazans into Rafah.
"There will be no talks with Hamas unless they comply with the conditions we have put forward to back off their coup, to recognize international legitimacy and to accept new early elections,'' the Palestinian leader said after the meeting, according to the AP.
Hamas officials are also in Cairo Wednesday to meet with senior Egyptian officials to press their case for a role in any future border agreement. Abbas, however, has refused any talks with Hamas unless it relinquishes their control of Gaza Strip to his Palestinian Authority. "We will not accept any new pre-conditions, they have to go back to the old (border) agreement. We are more interested in the Palestinian people's interests than Hamas is. If Hamas is really for them as well, let them comply with this,'' he added.
"We will not accept this mess - the old agreement should be implemented as it is,'' he said regarding the situation at the border.
Hamas immediately condemned Abbas' comments, saying they were an attempt to prevent the current round of talks from reaching a solution to the border crisis. "The remarks made by Abbas today in Cairo show his plan to foil any agreeement and any progress during the Cairo meetings between the Egyptians, on one hand, and Fatah and Hamas on the other,'' said spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in Gaza.
Earlier, leaders of the Hamas movement on Wednesday crossed into Egypt through the official Rafah terminal. "The Palestinians demand ... to open this gate freely for the people for normal relations and put an end to the grievous suffering,'' said Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas official who led the delegation to Egypt. "We are here to express the degree of pressure inflicted on the Palestinians for many, many years.''