Asharq Al-Awsat, Amman – In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas boycotted the summit for inter-Palestinian dialogue that was held in Cairo firstly due to the seating arrangements, “as Khaled Meshal (leader of the Hamas politico-bureau) was adamant that he should sit on a platform, and secondly because he objected to my departure from the summit after delivering the opening speech.”
Hamas had previously stated that it refused to attend any reconciliation talks with Abbas’s Fatah movement while its members were imprisoned in the West Bank.
Mahmoud Abbas also criticized Arab foreign ministers who attended the Cairo summit for not fulfilling their pledges to condemn those who stand in the way of inter-Palestinian dialogue. “They have gone back on their word one hundred per cent…but never mind…As I said before, I do not want to fight; I want to achieve the end result [peacefully].”
With regards to claims that Abbas has fallen under the sphere of American and Israeli influence, Abbas responded saying, “That is not true; they [Hamas] are the ones who receive orders via telephone to do this or not to do that.”
Demonstrating his autonomy, Mahmoud Abbas said, “The Syrian Arab summit came around and half the Arab countries refused to attend for their own reasons. I was put under a lot of pressure and the day before [the Damascus summit], US Vice President Dick Cheney asked me not to attend. But I decided to attend the summit…he said to me, ‘You will upset us and others [if you do] but I replied that I had to take part.’”