'Palestinian reconciliation is top priority'

Hamas official Ahmad Yousef says that following Abbas's UN statehood bid, which he fully supports, unity efforts to renew.

Abbas and Hamas leader (photo credit: Reuters)
Abbas and Hamas leader
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian reconciliation meetings are due to take place after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's return from the United Nations, Senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef told Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Friday.
Yousef said that Egypt will ask the Palestinians to resume dialogue over Palestinian reconciliation.
According to Ma'an, Yousef stressed that reconciliation would be a top priority of the Hamas movement in the coming months, after Abbas's statehood bid, set to take place at the UN on November 29.
Yousef said that until then, the PA president would invest all his efforts in the statehood bid, for which he expressed full support, wishing Abbas success.
Yousef's backing of the statehood bid conflicts with remarks made by Hamas government spokesman Taher a-Nunu a day earlier, denying reports that the movement's prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh had expressed support for the move.
The denial came shortly after Abbas’s office announced that he had received a phone call from Haniyeh and top Hamas official Ahmed Bahr, who expressed their support for the statehood bid. Abbas’s office said that Islamic Jihad leader Mohamed Hindi also phoned the PA president to voice his backing for the statehood bid.
A-Nunu said that the claim that Hamas supported the statehood bid was “untrue.”
An Islamic Jihad official in the Gaza Strip also denied that his group backed Abbas’s statehood bid.
Abbas on Wednesday rejected US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s request to refrain from asking the UN to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state to non-member.
Abbas relayed his position to Clinton during a meeting in Ramallah.
At the meeting, Clinton reiterated Washington’s opposition to Abbas’s statehood bid, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said.
“President Abbas told Clinton that we have taken a decision [to go to the UN],” Erekat said. “We are not interested in a confrontation with the US or any other country. We are practicing our right to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital.This will happen on November 29.”
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report