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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Abu Marzouq: Abbas and Mash'al will not meet * Hamas in Gaza deny that meeting between Abbas and Mash'al has failed

[Two items with contradictory claims.]
Hamas in Gaza deny that meeting between Abbas and Mash'al has failed
Date: 21 / 01 / 2007  Time:  14:28

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Sources from within the Hamas movement on Sunday denied the claims that efforts had failed regarding the meeting between Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and head of the Hamas political bureau, Khalid Mash'al, in Damascus.

The spokesperson of Hamas in Gaza, Isma'il Radwan, said that endeavors to hold the meeting are ongoing both domestically and abroad. However, he did not give a specific time for the meeting.

The spokesperson added that "once the meeting is held, nothing of special importance will come out. It will be a meeting of protocol and public relations, which is expected to have positive reflections on the domestic Palestinian situation and may pave the way to serious dialogue."

Radwan also affirmed that the meeting will not be the last opportunity for dialogue; it will be complimentary to previous meetings and should be followed with further meetings.

If the meeting is not held, the Hamas spokesperson said there will be very serious obstacles to dialogue between Fatah and Hamas. In this event, he blames the failure on president Abbas who, according to Radwan, can not escape American pressure and preconditions set by the international Quartet.

Abu Marzouq: Abbas and Mash'al will not meet
Date: 21 / 01 / 2007  Time:  12:37

Damascus - Ma'an - Member of the Hamas political bureau, Mousa Abu Marzouq, has confirmed that the meeting between Abbas and Mash'al, delayed until Sunday, has been cancelled.

Speaking to the Al Jazeera satellite channel, he confirmed, "there are no arrangements for such a meeting, and I don't expect a meeting to occur."

Abu Marzouq blamed President Abbas for the failure. "The stance of Abbas, and his political position, was the reason for not holding this meeting."

Abu Marzouq added that Abbas refused the latest suggestions offered by mediators, with the president claiming that the proposals were the same as those previously offered and deemed unacceptable. Abu Marzouq declared that the meeting was supposed to discuss the letter of designation, the president's priorities for the new government, in order to reach an agreement. He stated that the fear of not reaching a fruitful result was behind the cancellation, "if there will be no agreement, it is not necessary to have it [the meeting]."

He also mentioned the reservations expressed by the American and Israeli administrations over the visit of Abbas to Syria. He accused the US and Israel of opposing the visit and stated, "the coming days will clarify all issues".

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