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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Abbas meeting with Assad, set to hold talks with Mashaal

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/01/abbas-meeting-with-assad-set-to-hold.html

Jan. 20, 2007 9:10 | Updated Jan. 20, 2007 15:17
Abbas meeting with Assad, set to hold talks with Mashaal
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND JPOST STAFF

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1167467773691

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Syria on Saturday and began a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Abbas was also expected to meet with Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal on Saturday evening. According to senior Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan, Abbas and Mashaal would discuss the release of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who has been in Hamas captivity for nearly seven months.

Independent Palestinian legislator Ziad Abu Amr, who has been mediating between the Abbas and Mashaal, said Thursday that a meeting would focus on efforts to form a PA unity government and to end the violence between Hamas and Fatah.

Abu Amr denied reports in the Palestinian media that his recent talks in Damascus with Mashaal had failed. He said Mashaal expressed readiness to meet with Abbas to try to prevent an all-out confrontation between Fatah and Hamas.

"Hamas still hasn't changed its position regarding the proposed unity government," he said. "If anything, the meeting could ease tensions between the two parties, and this is good enough."

The Syria talks follow a meeting on Friday between Abbas and Canadian Foreign Minister Peter Mackay, in which Abbas reiterated his opposition to drawing temporary borders for a Palestinian state.

Also on Saturday, Dahlan chastised Palestinian armed factions who fire rockets at Israel.

In an interview to Palestinian television, Dahlan characterized firing rockets from civilian homes as a "cowardly act, that irresponsibly exposes Palestinian children and property to the occupier's cannons and guns."


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