'Mashaal meets Davutoglu in surprise visit to Istanbul'

Hamas leader, Turkish FM discuss impasse in efforts to form Palestinian unity government; Abbas expected to meet Erdogan on peace talks.

June 22, 2011 16:43
1 minute read.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 Reu. (photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Tuesday met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during a surprise visit to Istanbul, the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported Wednesday quoting Turkish officials.

The two leaders discussed the recent impasse in Hamas-Fatah efforts to create a Palestinian unity government.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was also in Turkey to meet with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan, but officials said he was not planning to meet Mashaal there.

According to the report, the Hamas leader was expected to leave Istanbul late Wednesday.

During the meeting between Mashaal and Davutoglu, the latter urged Hamas to maintain Palestinian unity amid the group's opposition to the re-appointment of Fatah-backed Salam Fayyad as prime minister of the new government.

Some reports said a meeting scheduled between Abbas and Mashaal in Cairo on Tuesday was canceled due to Hamas' opposition to Fayyad, while others said the meeting was postponed because of scheduling problems.

While in Istanbul, Abbas is also set to discuss the lull in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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