(AFP) – Oct 15, 2008
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has rejected a call for talks with arch-rival Hamas ahead of early November Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
"Fatah and all the factions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation are in favour of a Palestinian dialogue that involves all the parties," said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina.
Hamas, which is not a member of the PLO, violenty seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007, ousting forces loyal to Abbas, who now only holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar said earlier this month that his movement and Fatah would hold talks in Cairo on October 25 in a bid to form a Palestinian transition government acceptable to all factions.
The meeting was to take place ahead of Egyptian-sponsored Palestinian talks scheduled to start in early November. The exact date has yet to be set, but Palestinians have mentioned both November 4 and November 8.
"Fatah is not opposed to a meeting with Hamas but only after conclusion of an agreement to end the divisons," said Azzam Al-Ahmad, who heads the Fatah parliamentary group.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri responded by accusing Fatah of seeking to "perpetuate Palestinian divisions and torpedo" the Egyptian efforts to bring about reconciliation.
Cairo has suggested the creation of a new government backed by all Palestinian factions, the restructuring of security services under Arab League supervision and new elections.
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