Abbas aide: No talks with Hamas unless it undoes Gaza "coup
(dpa) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas clarified Wednesday that he would not hold "redundant" talks with Hamas, unless it first undid its Gaza take-over.
Speaking at a news conference in Ramallah to explain Abbas' position about a Yemeni mediation initiative between his Fatah party and the rival Hamas movement, Nabil Amr, Abbas' media advisor said Hamas should implement the Yemeni initiative - which calls for reversing the June 2007 Gaza take-over - and not enter into negotiations about it.
The Yemeni initiative "is an initiative for implementation and not to start a new and redundant dialogue, which we consider is a waste of time," Amr said.
The seven-point initiative also calls for holding early presidential and parliamentary elections to resolve a bitter power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.
The power struggle first erupted when the radical Islamic Hamas beat the establishment Fatah in January 2006 legislative elections, and culminated in Hamas taking sole control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 by violently overpowering the headquarters of Fatah-dominated security forces answering to Abbas.
A senior Fatah official sent to Sana'a last week for indirect mediation talks hosted by the Yemeni government caused considerable embarrassment in the party when he signed a declaration with Hamas Sunday, in which he agreed to hold talks with the rival movement, using the Yemeni initiative as a "framework."
Abbas however retracted the agreement hours later, saying the Fatah representative failed to seek his authorization by telephone.
"There was some confusion, ambiguity and intervention" that affected the Fatah delegation's decision, Amr said.
He stressed the clarification issued by Abbas did not mean a cancellation of his acceptance of the Yemeni initiative.
Hamas should first agree to publicly denounce its actions in Gaza and reverse its "coup" in the Strip, which he called conditions for renewing contacts.