Hamas’s political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal met Thursday with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in the Qatari capital of Doha to discuss the upcoming elections in the Palestine Liberation Organization as well as other key issues.
According to the Arabic-language Al Khaleej newspaper, Erekat requested that Mashaal work to approve the arrival of 100 members of the Palestinian National Council from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to the West Bank, ahead of a debate on the future of the PLO, set to be held in several weeks in Ramallah. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently appointed Erekat secretary-general of the PLO executive committee.
“If Hamas opposes the arrival of members of the National Council, it would undermine the elections,” a senior Palestinian official who spoke under condition of anonymity told Al Khaleej.
On Saturday, Abbas informed the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan that he wishes to give up political life. Fatah official Mohammad al Madani told the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat that the 80-year-old Abbas intends step down in stages, with his replacements being chosen by election, Israel Radio said Saturday. The first step would be to replace him as chairman of the PLO, then as the head of the Fatah movement and finally as president of the PA.
Adiv Sterman contributed to this report
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