Abbas, Mashaal meet in Cairo on Palestinian unity

Hamas says before meeting that its position towards Israel will not differ after formation of unity government with PA; EU: Cooperation with PA will end if Hamas joins government without recognizing Israel.

Khaled Mashaal in Cairo after reconcilliation agreement_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Khaled Mashaal in Cairo after reconcilliation agreement_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on Thursday to try to revive a reconciliation pact signed seven months ago but still not implemented.
The deal had aimed to end a four-year rift that has split the Palestinians ideologically and geographically.
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On Wednesday, Hamas said its position toward Israel would not change after the formation of a Palestinian unity government.
Hamas also reiterated its opposition to the appointment of current PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as head of the proposed unity government.
Abbas and Mashaal were expected to discuss implementing the reconciliation accord that was reached between Hamas and Fatah last May.
“Hamas will not change its position toward Israel, which will remain our enemy,” Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel said Wednesday. “Hamas won’t recognize Israel and won’t give up its principles.”
If it doesn’t, however, and a unity government is formed, this will run the risk of endangering EU cooperation with the PA.
John Gatt-Rutter, the acting EU representative to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and UNRWA, said at an EU press briefing in Jerusalem that Brussels was sending messages to the PA that it would only continue its cooperation with a Hamas-Fatah unity government if Hamas moderated it positions on Israel. He said the cooperation he was referring to was both political and economic.
EU Ambassador Andrew Standley said the EU’s longstanding position that it would not engage with Hamas until it recognized Israel, abandoned terrorism and accepted previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements has not changed.