Abbas to visit Damascus Sunday, will not meet Hamas leaders
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Amman Saturday en route to Damascus for a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, but an aide said he had no plans to meet with any of Hamas leaders based in Syria. ( dpa )
"There are no arrangements for a meeting between the president and any of Hamas leaders in Damascus," the president's official spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.
However, Abu Rudeina said that Abbas was due to discuss with al-Assad the prospects of starting reconciliation talks with Hamas, which took control of the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007 after defeating the president's Fatah forces.
The discussions between the Palestinian and Syrian leaders would also tackle "the outcome of ongoing peace talks between Syria and Israel", he added.
Abu Rudeina said that President Abbas was "still ready for reconciliation talks with Hamas in compliance with an earlier Arab League resolution". "We want to hear a clear stand from Hamas first," he added.
Meanwhile, Abbas met in Amman Saturday with the UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Robert Serry.
Serry, who also doubles as Personal Representative of the UN Secretary General, said that his discussion with Abbas focused on the truce between the Gaza Strip and Israel as well as the prospects of opening talks between Hamas and Fatah for closing Palestinian ranks.