Hamas, Fatah fail to agree on dialogue agenda

Other News Materials 22 March 2008 23:11 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Talks between the Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah broke down Saturday after negotiators from the two rival factions failed to reach an agreement on a Yemeni plan to reconcile them.

The delegates held indirect talks through Yemeni mediators at the Yemeni Foreign Ministry in Sana'a and walked out, refusing to speak to reporters.

Talks focused on a Yemeni initiative to bring Hamas leaders together with their counterparts from Fatah for a reconciliation dialogue in Sana'a in April.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qerbi told reporters following the meeting that a draft agreement on an agenda and a timetable for the proposed dialogue had been agreed on by the two factions, but had yet to be approved by Hamas top leaders.

"Hamas delegates have asked us to give them more time to consult their leadership," al-Qerbi said. He said the Fatah negotiators were ready to sign the agreement.

Yemen has offered to mediate between Hamas and Fatah, urging Hamas to end its control of the Gaza Strip.

The seizure of Gaza by Hamas prompted the Western-backed Abbas to dismiss the Hamas-led cabinet and form a transitional government in the West Bank.

Under the Yemeni plan, Hamas would return the situation in the Gaza Strip to its previous condition before initiating a dialogue with Fatah.

A source close to the negotiations said the movement had demanded that the Yemeni plan be modified to add a term under which Abbas should annul his decrees dismissing the democratically-elected Islamist Hamas government.

"Hamas expressed readiness to initiate a dialogue if Fatah agrees to return the situation in the West Bank to the way it was before June 2007, and to recognize the Hamas government," the source, who asked not to be named, told.