Abbas: Hamas Must Submit to PLO

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CBNNews.com - RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas warned that Hamas must accept his authority if is sincere about reconciliation.

"I say clearly there will be no dialogue with those who reject the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization]," Abbas said.

"They [Hamas] must recognize in no hidden terms and without vagueness that the PLO is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Then, there can be dialogue," he said.

Abbas called plans to replace the PLO with a new Palestinian organization "destructive."

Hamas said there will be no reconciliation under this precondition.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Abbas's remark "aborts all Palestinian, Egyptian and Arab efforts aiming to make a Palestinian national dialogue a success."

"We hold [Abbas] totally responsible for the repercussions of these statements, which deepen the internal rift," Barhoum wrote reporters by e-mail.

The rivalry between the two factions deepened when Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody military coup in June 2007.

Meanwhile on the second day of a visit to Iran, Damascus-based Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal called on Iranian students at the University of Teheran to help liberate Jerusalem.

"Allah willing, we will liberate al-Quds [Islam's name for Jerusalem] together," Mashaal said.

Last week, Mashaal told Arab leaders at a conference in Doha that the PLO "in its current state has no authority."

"It expresses a state of impotence, abuse and a tool to deepen divisions," Mashaal said to participants who gathered to formulate a united response to Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip.

A Hamas delegation met with Egyptian mediators in Cairo on Monday, while Abbas and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Source: The Associated Press

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