( dpa ) - Former US president Jimmy Carter held a second meeting on Saturday with the senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic movement of Hamas in Syria before heading to Saudi Arabia, Hamas sources said.
Carter held a two-hour meeting with Khaled Mashaal early Saturday, sources of the Islamic movement told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The former US president met with the exiled Hamas senior leader at his house in Damascus on Friday. No media coverage was allowed during their talks.
Sources said the two have agreed that Carter will announce the outcome of his negotiations with Hamas.
Carter said his talks were independent from any side, stressing that he is strongly concerned with achieving peace in the Middle East, sources said.
The US administration said earlier this week it opposes Carters' plan to meet with the Hamas leader. The White House has distanced itself from the meetings, saying Carter "is not representing the United States."
Meanwhile, the Islamic movement promised to answer all Carter's enquiries within the coming days.
Earlier, a Hamas website monitored in the Gaza Strip said that Carter and Mashaal were to discuss the fate of the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit during there talks.
Sources told dpa that a settlement to the issue of Shalit cannot be achieved without a response from Israelto the Palestinian demands for the release of Palestinian detainees.
In June 2006, Hamas captured Shalit during an attack on an Israeli army location near the border with Egypt. Despite intense efforts to release him, Shalit has been held by Hamas for more than one year.
Carter, who has headed to Riyadh, is planning to visit Jordan and Jerusalem to discuss the results of his talks with Hamas.