Abbas in Jordan for Shalit talks

Exclusive: "High-ranking Israeli and Egyptian security figures" also expected.

Gilad Shalit 298 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gilad Shalit 298 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who arrived in Amman Monday, is scheduled to hold secret talks with Israeli, Egyptian and Jordanian security officials on ways of resolving the case of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, a senior PA official here told The Jerusalem Post. The declared purpose of Abbas's visit is to brief Jordan's King Abdullah on the outcome of the Fatah-Hamas talks regarding the establishment of a PA unity government. However, neither the Jordanian monarch nor any of his government officials have been involved in the talks. Moreover, Jordan's relations with Hamas have been strained ever since Hamas's Syrian-based leader Khaled Mashaal was expelled from the kingdom several years ago. Earlier this year, relations between the two parties further deteriorated when the Jordanians announced that they had foiled an attempt by Hamas to smuggle weapons into the kingdom. Since then, Hamas leaders have been barred from entering Jordan. The PA official did not give further details about Abbas's latest mission in Jordan, but said that "high-ranking Israeli and Egyptian security figures" were also expected in Amman soon. About two months ago, Abbas reportedly met secretly in Jordan with Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin and Egyptian Intelligence head Omar Suleiman to discuss the Shalit affair. "I can't tell you that these two men will be in Jordan this time, but all I can say is that the president [Abbas] will hold important talks in Jordan on the Shalit case," the official told the Post. "We believe that this case is nearing its end. Both Israel and Egypt are sending representatives to Jordan."