London, Asharq Al-Awsat- An informed Palestinian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with the leader of the Hamas political bureau, Khalid Mishal, or any other members of the Hamas leadership under any circumstances until the Hamas movement signs the Egyptian reconciliation proposal. The Fatah movement that is led by Abbas previously agreed to this proposal in November 2009. The source also confirmed that Abbas will not participate in any summit called by Mishal regardless of whether this is an Arab or non-Arab summit.
There has been talk about Hamas attempting to promote a positive atmosphere with regards to reconciliation, and the possible presence of other mediators in the inter-Palestinian reconciliation file, however the source described this as being “not true at all.” The source also confirmed that Abbas would not budge from his clear and explicit position of “signing the [reconciliation] agreement and [then] we will meet on the same day…but without this, do not try [to meet], for all such attempts are doomed to fail.”
This refusal comes at a time when there is talk of Libya getting involved in the reconciliation file, particularly as Libya is set to host the next Arab summit which is set to take place in Tripoli next March. A senior Hamas official confirmed that the movement has received an invitation from the Libyan leadership to dispatch envoys to Tripoli to meet with Libyan officials.
It is worth mentioning that leader of the Hamas political bureau, Khalid Mishal, recently paid an official visit to Libya, heading a delegation that included a number of senior Hamas figures. Mishal met with senior Libyan officials as part of an Arab diplomatic tour that included diplomatic visits to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Syria, and Kuwait. President Mahmoud Abbas is set to begin a European diplomatic tour tomorrow that includes visits to Moscow and London as well as other European capitals.
The Jerusalem-based Al-Manar newspaper quoted Libyan sources as saying that the Fatah movement will soon receive a similar invitation [from Libya], and that this comes within the framework of Libyan efforts to support reconciliation efforts in the Palestinian arena.
The informed Palestinian source, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that he expected this [Libyan] reconciliation attempt to fail, in the same manner that previous reconciliation attempts failed. He also revealed that this is not the first time that Hamas has attempted to meet with Abbas, and the source cited a previous attempt made by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed, to arrange a meeting.
According to the source “the Emir of Kuwait called Abu Mazen [Abbas] with regards to reconciliation and a meeting. Sheikh al-Ahmed informed Abu Mazen that Mishal said that he was ready to sign the [reconciliation] document following a meeting with Abu Mazen, even if this meeting only lasts for half an hour. Abu Mazen responded by saying that there would no meeting of any kind until after the signing of the reconciliation document.”
The source added that this is the position of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and this is his condition for any meeting [with Hamas], and he will not back down from this, for any meeting [prior to signing of the reconciliation agreement] would serve the interests of Mishal and Hamas.
Therefore President Abbas will under no circumstances accept Khalid Mishal or any Hamas official being invited to the upcoming [Arab] summit, as he rejected Hamas participation in the March 2009 Doha Summit, and prior to this the 2009 Kuwait Economic Summit, not to mention the Damascus Summit that took place in late 2008.
The source recalled that during the Kuwait Summit Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed proposed to send a private plane to Damascus to transport Khalid Mishal to Kuwait and arrange a reconciliation meeting between Mishal and Abbas, but the Palestinian president completely rejected this proposal.