Turkey working on mediation to solve dispute on Palestinian unity government

11:04, June 23, 2011      

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Turkey once more made attempts to mediate between old rivals Al Fatah and Hamas to solve the dispute on making unity government.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held talks with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in the Turkish largest city of Istanbul on Tuesday, as part of the effort to search ground for reconciliation on unity government, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in the meantime, is visiting Turkey.

"We attach great importance to reconciliation between Palestinians. Turkey will do anything in its power for this reconciliation," Davutoglu told reporters in Konya in central Turkey on Wednesday.

Davutoglu said his talks with Hamas leader on Tuesday was under this framework and it was in positive direction. The minister recalled that he participated in a Cairo ceremony in May that saw the sealing of that agreement.

He would meet with Abbas to discuss the same issues, Davutoglu said. In the meantime Ankara is in coordination with Egypt, deal broker of Al Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. Turkish foreign minister said he had phone conversations with his Egypt's Egyptian counterpart Nabil Elaraby twice on Monday and Wednesday.

Turkish minister met with Meshaal amid Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's four-day visit to Turkey. President Abbas is scheduled to meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Davutoglu on Thursday and with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.

Meshaal left Turkey on Wednesday morning after discussions with the foreign minister and ministry officials on reconciliation between Palestinian groups, a written foreign ministry statement said on Wednesday.

The discussions would continue on upcoming days, it added.

Leaders of the two rival Palestinian groups were over a row due to disagreement on who will be the prime minister of a new unity government.

Abbas and Meshaal's visits to Turkey came up following a dispute, which led to postponement of the establishment of a unity government. Palestinian President Abbas and Hamas leader delayed a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday, since Hamas opposed reappointment of Western-backed Salam Fayyad as prime minister.

Al Fatah and Hamas have been at odds since 2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza.

Two rivals signed a deal in May, agreeing to end a four-year rift establishing a unity government with independent figures, which will prepare a ground for legislative and presidential elections within a year. However dispute erupted when Abbas wanted Fayyad, a U.S.-educated economist, to be reappointed as Palestinian premier, while Hamas insisted Fayyad was too closely allied with the West.

On Tuesday, Fayyad told reporters that he could step down to clear the way for a new unity government with Hamas, since he did not want to be an obstacle to reconciliation.

Reconciliation between rival Palestinian groups is important, since Palestinian authority is expected to ask General Assembly of the UN declaration of an independent Palestinian state.

The Palestinian authority was established following an interim peace deal with Israel in 1993. Palestinians achieved limited autonomy in the West Bank, the territory Israel captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has recently declared Turkey's support for recognition of Palestinian State in the UN.

Turkey will vote for a UN resolution to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, Gul said in a recent interview to the Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

"We hope that an independent Palestine will be established based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital," Gul added.

Ankara had initiated several times for the reconciliation efforts of Al Fatah and Hamas. Ankara has ties both with Al Fatah and Hamas, as Turkey is one of the first nations to support the Hamas government after the 2006 elections. Ankara hosted Hamas leader Meshaal in 2006, a visit which put Turkey and some Western countries, particularly Israel at odds.

Source: Xinhua
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