Egyptian ambassador to meet Hamas members in further sign of thaw between
Hamas and Fatah
Date: 07 / 06 / 2008 Time: 16:03
Bethlehem/Gaza - Ma'an - The Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian
Authority in Ramallah will hold a meeting at noon on Sunday with
representatives of Hamas to discuss President Abbas' call for dialogue
between the rival Palestinian factions, Palestinian sources reported on
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had earlier called for Egyptian
mediation between Hamas and his Fatah movement.
Separately, Hamas spokesperson Isma'il Radwan said on Saturday that Senegal,
the African state that is hosting a major conference of Islamic nations
later this year, has offered to hold intra-Palestinian talks.
Radwan reaffirmed Hamas' readiness to enter negotiations with Fatah under
any umbrella - Palestinian, Arab, or international, in any time and place.
He invited President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip,
saying that "the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem are all
Palestinian lands under the authority of President Abbas." Radwan said a
visit to Gaza would help end almost a year of political cleavage between the
West Bank and Gaza.
Abbas dismissed a Hamas-lead unity government last June after Hamas' armed
forces, fearing a coup on the part of Fatah, seized control of the Gaza
Strip. Since then Abbas' Fatah faction has consolidated power in the West
Bank, while Hamas has held on to the Gaza Strip.
Radwan indicated that the Arab League is considering sponsoring talks
between Hamas and Fatah, responding to Abbas' call for dialogue.
Hamas-affiliated deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh welcomed what he
called a "new spirit" of dialogue after a speech by Abbas on Thursday.
"During a phone call [Secretary-General] Amr Mousa indicated the Arab
League's intention to study the mechanism of hosting and sponsoring a
Palestinian dialogue with all those involved, and is waiting to set up these
mechanisms," Radwan said.
He added "We are ready to make this dialogue a success and to meet with our
brothers in Ramallah to deal with the President's call under any umbrella in
any place and at any time to end the division."
Radwan said that attacks between Hamas and Fatah have decreased in official
Hamas and Fatah-sponsored media outlets following Abbas' and Haniyeh's
speeches. He said Haniyeh had ordered Hamas' media to cease incitement
against Fatah "and to focus on the programs that enforce the language of
dialogue and tolerance and unifying slogans." He also said the Palestinian
Authority's Fatah-leaning Palestine TV had adopted a more conciliatory tone
Radwan denied that Hamas is holding any political prisoners affiliated to
Fatah. He called for human rights groups to visit Hamas-run prisons in Gaza
to verify this.
Asked about the Hamas members arrested by the security forces of the
Palestinian Authority in the West Bank he said, "there are hundreds
demanding their release and a stop to political arrests in order to create a
positive atmosphere for dialogue."