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Abbas: reconciliation with Hamas blocked

(Xinhua)

08:10, March 30, 2012

RAMALLAH, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Efforts to reconcile rival Palestinian groups have stopped, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday.

In remarks published by the West Bank-based Maan news agency, Abbas, leader of Fatah party, blamed some leaders of Islamic Hamas movement, the bitter rival of Fatah, of "blocking" the reconciliation.

"We have agreed on the vision, conditions and goals completely and then the rejection came from some Hamas leaders," he added, referring to the Qatari-brokered deal between him and exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal.

The deal, signed in February in Doha, allows Abbas to form an interim government to restore political unity to the West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Abbas hinted that the Gaza-based Hamas leaders blocked the agreement, stressing that Mashaal "was honest."

Some Hamas officials in Gaza, which Hamas took over in 2007, criticized the pact between Abbas and Mashaal, also known as the Doha declaration, saying that Mashaal signed it without consulting his fellows in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Abbas said that he expects the Arab League (AL) summit to support the diplomatic steps he will take as an alternative to the frozen peace talks with Israel.

Abbas refused to reveal these steps, but also stressed that the AL summit, opened Thursday in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, would emphasize financial and emotional support to the Palestinians.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stopped in 2010 due to disputes over the Jewish settlement building in the West Bank. The Palestinians consider obtaining memberships in international organizations in what Israel and the United States consider unilateral steps.

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