Abbas ready for 'reconciliation' with Hamas

March 17, 2011 - 0:0

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authurity president, has said he is willing to visit the Gaza Strip in an effort to promote reconciliation between the rival Fatah and Hamas factions.

In a speech on Wednesday, Abbas also said he won't run for re-election. Abbas' plan includes new elections within six months.
This is the first time Abbas has said explicitly he won't seek another term.
However, it's not clear that elections will be held because Abbas says they cannot take place if the West Bank and Gaza don't reunite.
Abbas has not been in Gaza since June 2007.
Unity rallies
Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, on Tuesday invited Abbas to come following parallel rallies in Gaza and the West Bank that urged the rival Palestinian leaderships to reunite.
Meanwhile Islamic Hamas movement on Wednesday welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' declaration that he would go to the Gaza Strip to work at ending political split.
“Hamas welcomes Mr. Abbas' response to Mr. Ismail Haneya's call to visit Gaza,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
“Hamas will follow preparations for this visit,” Abu Zuhri told Xinhua.
Earlier on Wednesday, Abbas said he is ready to go to the Gaza Strip in translating of public desire to end split between Gaza and the West Bank.
“I call on Ismail Haneya to arrange for my visit to Gaza in coordination and understanding with factions and public activities in the Gaza Strip,” Abbas said during a meeting for Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah