Hamas PM planning tour of Arab, Islamic countries

Trip comes amid Islamist rise to power in Arab world; Qatari emir invites Haniyeh to visit Doha.

December 19, 2011 21:09
1 minute read.
Hamas PM Haniyeh and bodyguards

Haniyeh and bodyguards_311. (photo credit: Reuters/Ismail Zaydah)


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Buoyed by the rise of the Islamists to power in the Arab world, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is planning a tour of Arab and Islamic countries – the first of its kind since his movement came to power in 2006.

Yusef Rizka, political adviser to Haniyeh, said that the emir of Qatar has invited the Hamas prime minister to visit Doha, but no date has been set yet.

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According to Rizka, Haniyeh is currently considering visiting not only Qatar, but also Turkey, Bahrain, Tunisia and a number of Arab countries. He pointed out that Turkey had also invited Haniyeh.

On Sunday, Haniyeh phoned the emir of Qatar to congratulate him on the emirate’s independence anniversary.

During the conversation, Haniyeh invited the emir to visit the Gaza Strip.

Rizka said that the emir has accepted the invitation, saying it was a “national duty to go to the Gaza Strip under the current circumstances.”

However, no date has been set for the visit, Rizka added.

Qatar is one of the few Arab countries that openly support Hamas. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has visited Doha several times in the past few years.

Haniyeh also phoned the king of Bahrain and the crown-prince of Saudi Arabia and thanked them for their ongoing support for the Palestinians, the Hamas adviser said.

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