Hamas 'in final stage of Fatah reconciliation'
Riyadh, January 4, 2010
Hamas said the Islamist group was in the final stages of reconciling with the rival Palestinian Fatah party after its leader met Saudi officials to try to narrow the rift.
"We made great strides towards achieving reconciliation," Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal told reporters at the Saudi foreign ministry during a visit to Riyadh. "We are in the final stages now."
An Egyptian proposal to promote reconciliation between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group has called for presidential and legislative elections to be held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip next June.
Meshaal said Hamas still had some points to resolve in the Egyptian proposal. Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah official, said Fatah had already endorsed the Egyptian proposal and it was up to Hamas to either follow suit or reject it.
"We urge Hamas to sign it so that we begin implementing the agreement," Ahmad told Reuters. Meshaal's meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was designed to help reconciliation of the feud, Saudi officials said.
Another senior Fatah official, Zeyad Abu Ein, said Meshaal was trying to put on a good face in Saudi Arabia.
"Khaled Meshaal did not come with anything new. The Palestinian people and Fatah are waiting for Hamas to sign on the Egyptian paper for reconciliation to take place," he added.-Reuters