( dpa ) - The exiled political leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, Khalid Mishal, welcomed an offer by the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas to let the PA to control the main border crossings in Hamas-run Gaza to help ease an Israeli blockade.
Speaking at a conference of Palestinian factions in Damascus, Mishal said Hamas was ready to discuss with Egypt and the Ramallah- based Palestinian Authority ways to run the border crossings.
Israel has tightened a blockade of the Gaza Strip, restricting the movement of people and goods through the crossings, since Hamas took control of the territory from Abbas' forces in June.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad made the proposal that would allow the Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority to control the main commercial crossing between Israel and Gaza at Karni, and the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Before Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip, Abbas' guards controlled the Rafah crossing together with Egyptian security forces.
Mishal, who lives in Damascus, urged Egypt to formally open its Rafah border crossing hours after Hamas gunmen blew large holes in the border wall, allowing thousands of Palestinians to cross freely into Egypt.
Rejecting Egypt's refusal to open the border citing its agreement with Israel, Mishal said it was "not justifiable."
Mishal said Hamas was prepared for an unconditional dialogue with Abbas but only under a Palestinian and Arab umbrella. Mishal rejected US and Israeli conditions for resumption of reconciliation efforts with Abbas' rival Fatah movement.
Palestinian factions held a previously postponed meeting in Damascus, which was also attended by representatives of the Iranian and Syrian governments and the Lebanese opposition movement, Hezbollah.