The head of Fatah's delegation to the reconciliation negotiations with Hamas has denied that his organisation is being subjected to American or Israeli pressure blocking a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal in Cairo. Azzam Al Ahmed said that the communication channels between Fatah and Hamas are still open but he didn't speak of any meetings scheduled for the near future.
Mr Al Ahmed, who is also a member of Fatah's Central Committee, called such accusations "absurd and not worthy of a response". Although there is an "obstacle" to completion of the reconciliation agreement, he said that this can be overcome.
"There is no link between going to the United Nations [for recognition of an independent state] and the reconciliation," added Al Ahmed. "Reconciliation and unity among Palestinians will strengthen the Palestinian cause in the international community and the United Nations." However, he concluded, "we are convinced that the United States does not want Palestinian reconciliation, although it would then be easier for America to sidestep the peace process and give it a pretext to support Israel."