Abbas to meet Mashaal in Saudi Arabia

Urges factions in Gaza to stop actions "that harm the Palestinian people."

mashaal damascus 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
mashaal damascus 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet with Hamas' top leader in Saudi Arabia next week in another effort to negotiate a national unity government agreement, an aide to Abbas said Friday. The meeting between Abbas and Hamas supreme leader Khaled Mashaal was to take place Tuesday, the official said. The two leaders met in Syria last month, but failed to reach agreement on forming a government. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting had not been officially announced. The decision to meet came as Fatah and Hamas gunmen battled in the streets of Gaza in a new wave of factional violence. Abbas, speaking at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday, appealed for calm. "I call on all parties in Gaza to stop these actions that harm the Palestinian people," he said. Saudi Arabia had invited Abbas and Mashaal to travel there to try to resolve their differences. Speaking Friday at his West Bank headquarters, Abbas did not confirm the meeting, but reiterated that he was willing to travel to Saudi Arabia in theory for new talks with Mashaal. "We are in contact now with Saudi Arabia over a meeting, and when they are ready to receive us, for sure we will go without any hesitation," he said.