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Meshaal and Abbas hold 'positive' talks in Doha

May 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Monday. The two leaders discussed the implementation of the national reconciliation agreement, with Meshaal describing the meeting as “positive”.

The two leaders had not met face-to-face since they had signed the previous reconciliation agreement in Cairo in January 2013.

Almost one year before that, on 6 February 2012, Hamas and Fatah also signed the Doha Declaration, which provided for the activation and development of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the formation of a technocratic, national-consensus cabinet headed by Abbas. The main task of the independent cabinet was to facilitate holding presidential and parliamentary elections as well as the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. While the two previous pacts stalled, the same provisions are included in the latest reconciliation agreement that was signed between Hamas and a PLO delegation in Gaza in April.

The Palestinian ambassador to Doha, Munir Ghannam, told reporters that Abbas and Meshaal discussed the procedural steps related to the implementation of the latest agreement. Speaking to the New Arab news website, he said that the two leaders addressed the formation of a national consensus government, noting that Abbas will start consultations related to forming the cabinet upon his return to Ramallah on Tuesday. However, Ghannam added that Abbas and Meshaal have not yet discussed the possible names of the cabinet’s members during their meeting in Doha.

When asked whether there is a disagreement between Hamas and Fatah on the government’s political platform, which seemed apparent in their statements after the signing of the reconciliation agreement, Ghannam responded that the government will not be tasked to work on the political file because the PLO is already in charge of this, and its mission will be limited to carrying out services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (which is similar to the mission of previous governments).

Following the meeting held between Meshaal and Abbas, Meshaal’s office issued a statement explaining that the meeting was lengthy and that it addressed “the latest developments … related mainly to the national reconciliation and to creating a positive atmosphere for the implementation of the reconciliation; and restoring national unity so as to confront the [Israeli] occupation as a unified front and meet the Palestinian people’s aspirations to achieve unity, freedom, dignity and liberation.”

During the meeting, they also discussed “ways to activate the leadership framework of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and coordinate Palestinian efforts and steps in the face of the violations and Judaisation campaigns that Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque are being subjected to.”

Abbas and Meshaal “expressed their real willingness to open a new page, based on national partnership,” according to the statement.

A member of Hamas’s Political Bureau, Ezzat Al-Rashq spoke to the New Arab and praised the positive atmosphere that followed the signing of the latest reconciliation agreement. Al-Rashq added that during their meeting in Doha, the two leaders discussed the Palestinian reconciliation at length. He said that the two sides see the reconciliation as a priority and thus they will work toward facilitating the implementation of all the articles of the agreement. While he noted that the two sides have not agreed on a timeframe for the implementation of the articles of the reconciliation agreement, he affirmed that things are going smoothly in line with what was agreed upon in Gaza.

Source: Alaraby Aljadeed by Anwar Al-Khateeb and Eman Abdelmoneim