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MIDEAST > Hamas, Fatah close to solution: Abbas

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Mahmoud Abbas. REUTERS photo

Mahmoud Abbas. REUTERS photo

Fatah and Hamas have come a long way in negotiations and are nearing a solution, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said.

“We are close to the solution,” he told reporters. “As the Palestinian course is not an issue for Palestinians only but also for Turkey, we are willing to be in communication with you,” Abbas told reporters during a meeting with Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek yesterday.

Abbas has been visiting Turkish and other regional leaders to discuss the latest developments in Palestinian reconciliation efforts, stalled Middle East peace talks and the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements.

Turkish officials expressed Turkey’s readiness to extend support to Palestine, noting the importance of advancing the national reconciliation between Palestinian groups led by Fatah and Hamas, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.

After dining with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu late Feb. 28, the Palestinian leader was set to meet President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday as the Daily News went press.

Davutoğlu proposed holding a “Friends of Palestinians” meeting, as had been done for Syrians, Abbas said. “We’ll fight Israel with diplomacy and democracy, not with arms,” he said.

Noting that the Turkish Parliament always stood with the righteous cause of the Palestinians, Çiçek called on the Islamic world to enhance cooperation.

To reach a resolution, Israel must act more responsibly and give up its “rule-breaker attitude,” Çiçek said, noting Israel was “continuing settlement projects in Palestinian lands.”

That shows “negotiations do not produce results, so then the Islamic world should be in serious cooperation,” he said, adding that the Doha meeting had been important in this regard.

The Palestinian president and his rival, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, met last week in Egypt to implement the terms of a reconciliation deal they signed in Cairo in May that called for an interim government and general elections in a year. However, Abbas and Mashaal postponed talks on forming a unified government “because Hamas continues to prevent the election committee from registering voters in Gaza,” according to an official from Abbas’ Fatah party.

Some elements of the “Doha Declaration,” a deal that Abbas and Mashaal signed in Qatar, were met with opposition from Gaza-based members of Hamas, as well as some from Abbas’ government.

March/01/2012

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