Iran: no official invitation sent to Hamas leader (UPDATE)
Iran statement added (first version posted at 10:30)
An Iranian government official announced on Sunday that the country has not sent any formal invitation to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to attend a summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran next week, Fars reported.
"Only (Palestinian President) Mr. Mahmoud Abbas has been invited to attend the NAM summit and no official invitation has been sent to Mr. Ismail Haniyeh," Mohammad Reza Forqani, Spokesman of the Headquarters in charge of arranging the 16th NAM Summit, told FNA on Sunday.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will boycott the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran if his Islamist rival Ismail Haniya of Hamas attends, a minister told AFP on Saturday.
"President Abbas will not take part in the Non-Aligned summit if Haniya is present, no matter what form his attendance takes," foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said in Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, Al Arabiya reported.
A Hamas spokesman earlier on Saturday said Haniya would attend the August 30-31 conference in Tehran "in accordance with the invitation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
The statement from Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, did not say when Haniya would leave the Palestinian enclave for the conference or give any further details.
In Iran, foreign ministry spokesman Rahmin Mehmanparast said Haniya had been invited to the gathering as a "special guest."
Abbas heads a rival West Bank-based administration, and said last month that he had accepted an invitation to attend the NAM summit and make his first visit to the Islamic republic.
"At a time when (Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor) Lieberman is waging an aggressive political campaign, the invitation to Haniya to attend the NAM summit indicates that Tehran has joined the hostile Israeli chorus," the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee said in a statement.
The 16th NAM summit will be held in the Iranian capital, Tehran, from August 26 to 31.
NAM is comprised of some 120 member states and 17 observer countries.
NAM is an international organization of states considering themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. NAM is the largest grouping of countries outside of the United Nations.
NAM member states represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations' members and comprise 55% of the world population, particularly countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World.