Hamas Leader Won't Attend Summit

Sunday, 26 August 2012 10:51 AM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Hamas official says Gaza's Hamas prime minister has dropped plans to attend this week's summit of Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran.

The prospect of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh attending the summit elicited an angry response from the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank. Its foreign minister, Riad Malki, warned he would pull out of the summit and urge other nations to do the same if Haniyeh showed up.

The spat is the latest chapter in the rivalry between Hamas, which runs Gaza, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who administers parts of the West Bank. Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007.

Haniyeh's office said earlier he was invited by Iran's president. Iran denied that. Gaza government spokesman Taher Nunu said Sunday that Haniyeh decided not to travel.

On Saturday, Malki had said Abbas would not participate in the summit hosted by Iran, at the end of the month, if Hamas and Haniyeh also attend.

Abbas' secular, Western-backed Fatah party and the militant Islamic Hamas are bitter rivals. Violence between the two sides in 2007 left the Palestinians divided with Hamas ruling Gaza and Fatah governing the West Bank. Repeated attempts for reconciliation have failed.

Iran is a major supporter of Hamas.

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Sunday, 26 August 2012 10:51 AM
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