PA's Abbas, Hamas's Mashaal meet in Qatar

Palestinian leaders discuss implementation of reconciliation agreement with Qatari emir, prime minister.

February 5, 2012 15:31
2 minute read.
Abbas and Mashaal meet in Cairo to talk unity

Abbas meets Mashaal in Cairo 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and Hamas Political Bureau head Khaled Mashaal in Doha Sunday. The three, along with the Qatari prime minister, met to advance the implementation of a reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.

The meeting was proceeded by a closed-door session including other senior Hamas and Fatah officials including PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

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Ahead of the talks, Hamas and Fatah officials said that Abbas and Mashaal would discuss ways of overcoming obstacles hindering the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement between the two sides.

They said the talks would focus specifically on the formation of a Palestinian unity government and the general political situation in the region in the wake of the failure of the recent Israeli-Palestinian talks in Jordan.

Mashaal’s deputy, Musa Abu Marzouk, said that the summit was being held in Qatar at the request of Abbas.

Previous meetings between Abbas and Mashaal took place under the auspices of the Egyptian authorities in Cairo.

Abu Marzouk did not say why Abbas chose Qatar as a venue for the talks instead of Egypt.

Despite the reconciliation pact, Hamas and Fatah have failed to reach agreement on a number of issues such as the identity of the next prime minister and the release of “political detainees” held by the two parties.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the PA continues to hold in its prisons in the West Bank 105 detainees suspected of being affiliated with Hamas.

Mashaal flew to Doha on Saturday from Amman, where he has been staying since the beginning of the week. During his stay in the Jordanian capital, Mashaal met for the first time with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Abbas also flew to Doha from Amman on Saturday.

Before his departure, the PA president met with Abdullah and discussed with him the latest developments surrounding the peace process.

Sources close to Abbas said that the monarch called on the Palestinians to continue the talks with Israel that began in Amman several weeks ago.

The PA leadership last week held Israel fully responsible for the failure of the Amman talks because of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s refusal to freeze settlement construction and recognize the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

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