Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hamas accepts Abbas offer of talks: Haniya

GAZA CITY (AFP) - Hamas has accepted an offer from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to hold reconciliation talks, the Islamist movement's political head in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, said on Thursday.

"We welcome the call by president Abbas to hold a national dialogue and the new positive spirit in his speech, and we state that our hand reaches out for national unity," Haniya said in a televised address.

The US-backed Abbas on Wednesday unexpectedly called for talks with Hamas, which ousted his Fatah party from a share of power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after deadly factional fighting.
"We call for the immediate launch of a national dialogue based on the Yemen initiative" that foresees a return to the situation in the Gaza Strip prior to the Hamas takeover, Haniya said.
He said Hamas was ready to show the necessary flexibility to ensure the Palestinian dialogue succeeds, and he called on Fatah to do the same.
"We urge the Arab League to sponsor this dialogue and reconciliation, as it did with our Lebanese brothers," Haniya said, adding that the talks should take place on the understanding that there was "neither victor nor vanquished."
The Arab League oversaw a deal struck on May 21 in the Qatari capital of Doha between rival Lebanese politicians, ending an 18-month crisis that erupted into street battles that killed 65 people.

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