Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Both the Palestinian Presidency and Hamas have welcomed Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s new initiative aimed at restoring the situation in the Gaza Strip to its pre-Hamas status and holding early elections conducive to a national unity government. The call came only a few days after a visit by PA President Mahmud Abbas to Yemen.
President Abbas has voiced his full support for the initiative, which he described as honest. Moreover, Sami Abu-Zuhri, the official Hamas spokesperson, has welcomed it.
A presidential statement has explained that Abbas considered the initiative a reflection of the Yemeni president’s keenness to achieve a united national Palestinian position and end the state of division and separation that does not serve national Palestinian interests, which has led to this serious embargo and aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and holy Jerusalem. President Abbas stressed full cooperation with this honest and brotherly initiative from President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is keen on maintaining the Palestinian people’s solidarity, cause, and future.
On the other hand, Abu-Zuhri told Asharq Al-Awsat that he welcomed “any initiative that involves restarting Palestinian dialogue.” He added: “We are ready for an unconditional and immediate dialogue.”
Abu-Zuhri has not objected either to the idea of holding early elections. He said: We can have all the issues open on the dialogue table.” This is considered a change from past Hamas positions rejecting early elections as a reversal of the recent legislative election results.
Other Hamas sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement was indeed ready for a number of agreements but on the dialogue table. The sources wondered what “restoring the situation to its former state “meant. They asked: “There was a national unity government. What about it?”
Regarding the Yemeni proposal to hold early elections and form a new national unity government, the official sources said: “We are willing to discuss is at the talks.”