Hamas not eager to talk with Palestinian president : official

Other News Materials 3 February 2009 16:58 (UTC +04:00)

A Hamas official said Tuesday the Islamic movement is not raring to talk with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if he insists on Hamas recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole representative, reported Xinhua.

"We are not hastening for a dialogue with Abbas if he keeps insisting on recognition of Palestine Liberation Organization as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people," said Damascus-based Hamas leader Mohamed Nazal.

Nazal was quoted as saying in Syria by a pro-Hamas website in Gaza that "this shows the confusion and disappointment Abbas lives in, specially after the overwhelming victory Hamas and the resisting factions achieved in Gaza."

"Abbas and his retinue were waiting for Hamas' breakdown during the Israeli war on Gaza, in order to come on the top of an Israeli tank to take its rule back," said Nazal.

"If Abbas is conditioning our recognition of the PLO on talks with us, then we are not eager to talk with him," Nazal said.

On Sunday in Cairo, Abbas ruled out the possibility of holding dialogue with those who do not recognize the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians.

Abbas made the remarks in response to exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal who called last week for forming a new leadership for the Palestinians including political factions "who support armed resistance against Israel."

Hamas controlled the Gaza Strip following weeks of fierce armed confrontations in June 2007. It routed President Abbas security forces and cracked down on his Fatah members and associations.

The PLO, which was chaired by late leader Yasser Arafat and now by Abbas, recognized Israel in 1988, and reached a series of interim peace agreements with the Jewish state.

The PLO is an umbrella organization, made up of a handful of other organizations which all share the same goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state.

The PLO was proclaimed the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by Arab states at the Rabat conference in 1974. The United Nations also recognizes the PLO as "the representative of the Palestinian people." Enditem