PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
The Palestinian Authority over the weekend launched a diplomatic campaign aimed
at persuading the international community to support the Hamas-Fatah unity deal
that was reached in Cairo last week.
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PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas
leader Khaled Mashaal are expected to sign the formal Egyptian-sponsored accord
in Cairo on Wednesday, sources close to the two parties said.
Abbas, in a
message to the EU, said the interim government that would be established by
Hamas and Fatah would deal only with preparing for the next presidential and
parliamentary election, and rebuilding the Gaza Strip.
that the PA government would not be in charge of negotiations with Israel or
other political issues.
He said that he and the PLO would maintain
responsibility for the peace process with Israel and the PA’s external
Abbas urged the EU leadership to support the prospective
Hamas-Fatah government. He also voiced opposition to any attempt by the EU to
demand that the new government recognize Israel’s right to
“Recognizing the State of Israel and negotiating with it is in the
authority of the PLO, which has already recognized Israel,” Abbas said in his
He told a number of foreign diplomats who met with him in his
office in Ramallah over the weekend that the unity agreement would enhance the
chances for peace in the Middle East.
Abbas assured them that the unity
government would not be authorized to deal with diplomatic matters, such as the
peace talks with Israel. Instead, he said, the government would focus only on
two issues: rebuilding the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead
and preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections.
London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper quoted sources close to the PA president
as saying he had decided not to seek reelection.
“President Abbas won’t
be one of the candidates in the presidential election,” the sources said, adding
that he had asked Fatah leaders to search for another candidate.