Report: Abbas sends Kurdish mediator to Mashaal

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas sent the Kurdish millionaire, Muhammed Rashid, to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, in order to mediate between Fatah and Hamas, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Friday. Israel Radio reported that Rashid was accompanied by independent PA parliament member Ziad Bau-Amar and that the two met with Mashaal several times in the Syrian capital. A Palestinian source told the newspaper that great progress had been made on two issues: the political program of a potential PA unity government and the distribution of the main government ministries. Several other Arab media sources reported that Abbas would meet with Mashaal in Damascus next week, but sources close to the PA chairman denied reports of an imminent meeting.