Hamas' exiled chief Khaled Mashaal said Friday that his movement recognizes Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian president and wants to work with him for the good of the "national interest" of the Palestinians.
Addressing media in Damascus, Mashaal said that Hamas had not wanted to take over the Gaza Strip. "What has happened in Gaza is an emergency measure, to deal with a state that wanted to impose itself on everybody," he said. "We were forced to take this emergency measure. We did not want to take it but we were forced to do it."
According to the AP, Mashaal stated, "We want brotherhood with the sons of the Fatah movement. This was not a confrontation with Fatah. Our crisis is not with Fatah."
Abbas, Mashaal said, "has legitimacy, there's no one who would question or doubt that, he is an elected president, and we will cooperate with him for the sake of national interest."
But he also warned Fatah followers not to "move this conflict to the West Bank" where Fatah is dominant.
Mashaal called for the Arab League to help mediate talks between Hamas and Abbas. "I wish (that) ... the Arab ministerial meeting in Cairo presents a strong responsible Arab stance, as an umbrella to hold the national Palestinian dialogue to approach a Palestinian accord," Mashaal said. "God willing, we will spare Palestinian blood."
Mashaal said Abass' dissolution of the unity government "will not remedy the situation ... and will not solve the problem." "There will be no two governments and no division of the homeland," Mashaal said, adding the only solution was "to agree on a central national government."
He also urged Hamas fighters in Gaza not to raise Hamas' banners and overtake security compounds any more. "Hamas does not want to seize power. ... We are faithful to the Palestinian people," Mashaal concluded and promised to help rebuild Palestinian homes damaged in the months of bloody infighting.