Abbas Double Deals on Two Tracks –

DEBKAfile’s Iran sources reveal that Fatah and Hamas representatives have launched secret talks to patch up their quarrel. Their first session took place in Stockholm Sunday, July 8, under the guiding hands of the Iranian and Saudi ambassadors.

Hamas sent operations chief Imad al Alami from Damascus to face Eugine Makhloof ,the PLO ambassador in Sweden, who is acting on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah.

But before sitting down to the talks, the Hamas official first checked in with Iranian leaders in Tehran to make sure their agendas dovetailed.

Our sources report that Al Alami met foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki to voice his movement’s determination to hold on to the gains it achieved in its coup against Fatah in the Gaza Strip last month. However, the Iranian official responded that, with its own crisis in the offing – fear of an American attack palpable enough to impose emergency benzine rationing for private vehicles to keep the military supplied – the Islamic Republican regime could not afford to underwrite all the Hamas Gaza government’s economic needs long term. Mottaki strongly advised Hamas to rebuild its collapsed power-sharing deal with Abbas’ Fatah faction and work together for stability.

With war clouds hanging over the region this summer, said the Iranian foreign minister, Palestinian unity is the order of the day, essential to the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah bloc as a strategic asset in its coming conflict with the US and Israel.

The same advice came from UAE president Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan to visiting Mahmoud Abbas when they met Sunday. The Fatah leader was persuaded to lose no time in mending Palestinian factional fences.

DEBKAfile’s Palestinian sources note that Abbas’ approval of the Stockholm track does not interfere with his appeals to the US and Israel to prop up his West Bank government and persevere in their economic and diplomatic boycott of Hamas. CONTINUE

July 9, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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