Abbas to visit former PLO HQ

PA leader, Tunisian president will discuss how to reconcile clashing factions.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is to visit the Tunisian capital next week for talks with the president of this North African country, one-time PLO headquarters, and with Fatah leaders in Tunis, state media reported Sunday. The three-day visit begins Tuesday, the official TAP news agency reported, citing President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's office. The visit is part of the "ongoing consultations with the Palestinian leadership," the report said. A number of Fatah officials live in Tunis, which was home to the PLO for nearly a dozen years until 1994. In his meeting with Ben Ali, Abbas is likely to discuss how best to favor dialogue among Palestinian factions following confrontations between the militant Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement as well as relaunching negotiations with Israel, Palestinian officials said. He is expected to meet with Fatah leaders in Tunis, including Farouk Kaddoumi, Mohamed Ghounim, head of mobilization and organization, as well as with Ahmed Afana, a deputy chief of Palestinian forces. The PLO set up headquarters in Tunis after then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat was evicted from Lebanon in 1982 and until his return to Gaza in 1994.