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Hamas defers unity talks with Fatah

23 August 2010 6:00

The Palestinian Hamas movement has indefinitely postponed a meeting with Fatah leaders over the Palestinian Authority’s decision to resume direct talks with Israel.

Senior Hamas official Selah al-Bradawil said the decision has “made it too difficult” for his Islamic movement to meet with Fatah officials, Ma’an news agency reported.

The meeting, called by democratically elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was scheduled for Saturday evening in Gaza City and was to discuss a unity deal to span divisions between the two rival movements which have stalled local and general elections.

On Friday, US Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton invited both Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct negotiations in Washington in early September.

Despite Israel’s flat refusal to meet the Palestinian pre-condition of extending a 10-month freeze on its West Bank settlements, the Palestinian Authority accepted the US invitation.

Hamas along with a number of other Palestinian factions rejected Washington’s “misleading” call and condemned the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority for yielding to US pressure.

Several factions within the Palestine Liberation Organization Palestinian also protested the move with many expecting a statement from the Middle East Peace Quartet to lay the foundations of peace talks.

But the quartet’s communique — released in parallel and in support of a US invitation to direct talks — was not accepted by the US as a basis for negotiations, while Clinton saying no preconditions to talks would be applied.

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