(photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
The Iranians have offered their services as mediators to end the Fatah-Hamas
power struggle, PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Saturday.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the offer during a meeting last week in
Tehran with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of
the Non-Aligned Movement conference, Erekat said.
“It was a very frank
and calm meeting,” he said of the Ahmadinejad-Abbas encounter,
the first of its kind since the PA president was elected in 2005.
reassured the Iranian president during the meeting that the PA’s diplomatic
moves were based on international laws, as well as the establishment of a
Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital,
The Iranians have long been opposed to any peace process
with Israel. They are also opposed to the two-state solution and believe that
Israel has no right to exist.
Ahmadinejad offered to host reconciliation
talks between Fatah and Hamas in Tehran, Erekat said. He added that Abbas
reiterated his readiness to end the dispute with Hamas and pointed out that
Egypt and Qatar had been making huge efforts to achieve reconciliation between
the two rival parties.
Abbas complained to the Iranian president that the
reconciliation process stopped after Hamas banned the Palestinian Central
Election Commission from registering voters in the Gaza Strip – as envisaged by
the latest Doha Accord between the two sides.
Abbas also told Ahmadinejad
that if Iran wanted to help achieve reconciliation, it should do so through
Cairo, which was sponsoring negotiations between Fatah and Hamas.
meanwhile, rejected the Iranian offer, saying it preferred that the Egyptians
continue to sponsor the reconciliation talks.
Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas
spokesman in the Gaza Strip, pointed out that his movement had accepted Egyptian
mediation even when president Hosni Mubarak was still in power. Egypt, he added,
was “closer to Palestine and has huge influence on the Palestinians and the
future of their cause.”
Relations between Hamas and Iran have been
strained ever since the Islamist movement refused to publicly support Syrian
President Bashar Assad – a move that led to the expulsion of Hamas’s top leaders
Bardaweel said that it was time for Hamas to stop being
dependent on Iran and others.
He said that Abbas was the one who had
suspended the reconciliation agreement with Hamas under American and Israeli