Iran's top cleric urged Muslim countries on Saturday to boycott a U.S.-sponsored international peace conference on Palestinian statehood next month.
Opposition to Israel is one of the cornerstones of belief of Shi'ite Iran, which backs Palestinian and Lebanese Islamic militant groups opposed to peace with Jerusalem.
"When Palestinians consider this conference as deceitful and refuse to participate, how can Muslim countries take part in that?" Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a sermon broadcast live on state media.
On Friday, Hamas' top leaders in Gaza and Syria warned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas against falling into "the trap" of an upcoming peace conference with Israel.
Deposed Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, based in Gaza, and Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal, based in Syria, also urged Abbas to mend his rift with their Islamic militant faction.
The Hamas leaders made the remarks to supporters on the occasion of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Haniyeh, who was dismissed from office after Hamas overran Gaza in June, criticized Abbas for planning to attend next month's U.S.-sponsored international peace conference, meant to provide support for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. He cautioned the PA chairman "not to give this occupier legitimacy on our land."
"Don't fall into the trap of the coming conference. Don't make new compromises on Jerusalem, on our sovereignty," Haniyeh urged.
Khaled Meshal echoed the warning in a holiday message on Hamas radio. And he urged Abbas, who set up his own government in the West Bank after Hamas' Gaza takeover, to accept the Islamists' invitations for dialogue.
"Abbas and his allies will find out that they are pursuing nothing but a mirage," Meshal said, referring to the conference.
"They will find out that there can be no solution without dialogue," Meshal added, accusing Israel and the U.S. of taking advantage of the Palestinian rift to try to wrest concessions from Palestinian peace negotiators.
The conference is tentatively set for Annapolis, Maryland, at the end of November, and Israel and the Palestinians hope to present the contours of a final peace accord there.
Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday that U.S. President George W. Bush should not convene his planned Mideast peace conference next month if Israel and the Palestinians have not achieved an agreement in advance
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