Meshaal: US pressures on Abbas for no-reconciliation with Hamas

Hamas leader Meshaal accused U.S. of undermining Palestinian unity efforts.

Meshaal: US pressures on Abbas for no-reconciliation with Hamas

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Monday accused the United States of undermining Palestinian unity efforts and said he saw no chance for peace in the Middle East under Israel's current leadership.

"We know that the US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has recently put pressure on Mahmud Abbas and Egyptian officials," he told Russian daily Vremya Novostei.

"If Abbas reconciles with us than the United States will halt aid to the Palestinian administration."

Hamas wants a reconciliation deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' rival Fatah movement "as fast as possible", Meshaal told a news conference after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who invited him to Moscow.

"Unfortunately, there are a whole series of hurdles to a swift reconciliation, first of all external influence and concerted pressure from the United States," he said, which he said was using "various means" to scuttle the efforts.

Changes on deal

Meshaal did not elaborate, but said portions of an Egyptian-drafted reconciliation deal had been changed without consultation with Hamas and that the group would not sign it unless they were restored, according to Reuters.

Hamas has sought an Egyptian guarantee that the outcome of a Palestinian election expected in June be respected. Hamas won a parliamentary election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip a year later in fighting with Fatah forces.

Meshaal blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what Hamas has called a collapse of indirect talks to exchange captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for some of the more than 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails.

"The reason is the game Netanyahu is playing," Meshaal said through an interpreter.

Israel has demanded that dozens of Palestinians inmates, captured by Israeli forces, be deported upon their release.

"Israeli leadership is a leadership of war"

Meshaal, though not a party to any U.S.-brokered diplomacy, said: "I don't see any prospects on the Palestinian, the Syrian or any other track of the Middle East process because the Israeli leadership is a leadership of war, aggression and occupation."

He accused Washington of retracting demands on Israel and charged Europe had been unable to make Israel abide by commitments.

Meshaal praised Russia, hosting him for a second official visit since 2007.

"Russia wants unity in the Palestinian ranks -- the Americans don't care about this," he told the paper.

Russia has worked to build on ties with Moscow's Cold War allies in the Middle East while also cultivating improved relations with Israel. It provided a platform for Meshaal but offered no vocal sign of support on Monday.

Along with the United States, the United Nations and the European Union, Russia is part of the "quartet" seeking peace in the Middle East.

Agencies

Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2010, 08:33
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