'Abbas to meet with Assad in Damascus'

Leaders expected to discuss recent Israel-Syria talks, possible rapprochement with Hamas.

October 3, 2008 20:15
1 minute read.
'Abbas to meet with Assad in Damascus'

Assad nice 224.88. (photo credit: AP)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is planning to visit Damascus in a week and a half, Army Radio reported Friday. According to a senior official in the PA, Abbas is expected to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The two are slated to discuss recent indirect talks between Syria and Israel, as well as a possible rapprochement with Hamas. The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report. Meanwhile, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) told the Reuters news agency that Abbas is already holding secret talks with Assad, and that the two leaders were working to coordinate policies on diplomatic issues. Abbas is scheduled to finish his term as president on January 9, and in the absence of new elections - due to the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip - Abbas, according to the PA constitution, will be replaced by the speaker of the PA parliament, Abdel Aziz Dweik, a senior Hamas official currently in an Israeli prison. Abbas, however, is not expected to step down from his post and is looking for ways to extend his term. Both the IDF and the PA are concerned that Abbas's refusal to hand over the reins could set off violent clashes in the West Bank between Fatah and Hamas.

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