Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction on Wednesday ruled out talks with Hamas unless the latter first cedes control of Gaza Strip, casting doubt on a Yemen-sponsored reconciliation push. The two rival parties agreed in Yemen this week to revive direct talks after months of hostilities to "return the Palestinian situation to what it was before the Gaza incidents."
But an apparent dispute quickly broke out. Hamas has said talks will start on April 5 while Abbas' office insisted the Islamic group movement first relinquish control of the Gaza Strip. "We are ready to open a new chapter but the Palestinian condition remains unchanged, and that is a complete and a total reversal of the coup," Abbas' media adviser Nabil Amr told reporters, according to Reuters. "This is the final position of the Palestinian National Authority, of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and of Fatah."
Hamas official on Gaza Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri said Amr's remarks on Wednesday effectively "wiped out" the Yemeni initiative and reflected the positions of Israel and the United States. According to Abu Zuhri, the "Yemeni initiative stated clearly it was an initiative for dialogue between Hamas and Fatah" and not a list of items that must be implemented immediately.