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Abbas Urges Hamas to Sign Reconciliation Deal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Romania's President Basescu gestures to Palestinian President Abbas during an official welcoming ceremony at Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest. (R)

Romania’s President Basescu gestures to Palestinian President Abbas during an official welcoming ceremony at Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest. (R)

BUCHAREST (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Monday renewed calls for the Islamist Hamas movement to sign an Egyptian-drafted reconciliation document that would allow elections to take place.

“I hope that Hamas signs the Egyptian document so that we are able to move towards the organisation of elections,” Abbas said after a meeting in Bucharest with Romanian President Traian Basescu.

Abbas, who is scheduled to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday in Egypt, reiterated “the importance of inter-Palestinian reconciliation”.

In the last general election in 2006, Hamas unexpectedly routed Abbas’ secular Fatah party.

Under the terms of the reconciliation document, legislative and presidential elections would be held in mid-2010.

The two groups have remained deeply divided since the Islamists violently seized control of Gaza in June 2007 during a week of bloody street clashes, confining Abbas’s authority to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Egypt has made several attempts at reconciliation, but the last round of talks ended in October 2009 when Hamas refused to sign the Egyptian document after it was inked by Fatah.

Hamas has said it will only sign the document with certain amendments, while Egypt and Fatah have refused to reopen the negotiations.

Palestinians take part in a protest in the West Bank City of Nablus calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. (R)

Palestinians take part in a protest in the West Bank City of Nablus calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. (R)

Romania's President Basescu shakes hands with Palestinian President Abbas during an official welcoming ceremony at Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest. (R)

Romania’s President Basescu shakes hands with Palestinian President Abbas during an official welcoming ceremony at Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest. (R)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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