Abbas says to accept any Egyptian proposal for reconciliation
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that he will accept any Egyptian proposal to achieve a national Palestinian reconciliation to end the current internal rift, said a source with the presidential office, Xinhua reported.
Abbas told the Cairo-based Egyptian Magazine "October" in an interview which will be published on Sunday that "We will accept any Egyptian proposal that ends the internal rift and lifts the siege imposed on the Palestinian people."
Egypt is sponsoring the inter-Palestinian dialogue which aims at ending rivalry between Abbas' Fatah party and Islamic Hamas movement which routed his security forces and seized control of Gaza in June 2007.
A seventh round of dialogue between the two rival groups is scheduled to be held in Cairo on July 25. Previous six rounds of dialogue held in Cairo since March had failed to reach a reconciliation agreement between the two groups.
Abbas revealed to the Egyptian magazine that he had given instructions to the Fatah delegation "to accept any Egyptian proposal that doesn't lead to a continuation of the siege," according to the source who insisted anonymity.
"I'm certain that Egypt would never present a proposal to tighten the siege imposed on the Palestinians, mainly on the Gaza Strip," said Abbas, who held talks in Ramallah on Friday with a senior Egyptian security delegation.
Abbas stressed that he rejected the mediation of any other Arab country, saying that Egypt is "the only country that knows how to rule the Arab-Israeli conflict."
Abbas told the magazine that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) sticks to holding the presidential and legislative elections and overcoming all inter-Palestinian differences. He called on Arabs to inspect the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, Abbas told the magazine that exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal got convinced that moderate stances "are the only way to reach a solution," adding "Hamas doesn't reject peace and the last speech of Meshaal was moderate."
"The Gaza Strip is still considered to be under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian (National) Authority before and after Hamas' takeover of Gaza. We still pay salaries, and we are still running health, education and electricity sections," said Abbas.
He also revealed to the magazine that the PNA "is still running many aspects of life in the Gaza Strip and devotes 58 percent of its general budget to the Gaza Strip."
Hamas has been ruling the enclave since its takeover in June 2007.
Abbas denied that his security apparatuses are arresting Hamas members because of their political affiliations, adding "those people were arrested because of holding weapons, violating the law, security and stability and money laundering."