Sunday, February 11, 2007

Abbas aides fan out to sell unity deal

From Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST, Feb. 10, 2007 ...

Palestinian leaders fanned out across the world Saturday in a diplomatic blitz aimed at convincing reticent world leaders to support their hard-won power-sharing deal by lifting economic sanctions on their government.

The envoys may have a hard sell.

Western governments and Israel have given only muted reactions to the agreement signed Thursday by Hamas and Fatah leaders in the holy Saudi city of Mecca. International leaders said they would have to first study the deal and see how it changes the situation on the ground, dashing hopes for a quick end to the sanctions.

Meanwhile, Hamas representatives maintained on Saturday that the group had no intention of formally recognizing Israel. Speaking in Gaza, Ahmed Yosef, spokesperson for Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said the issue was not part of the deliberations in Mecca and would not be become a policy of the new unity government, despite pressure from the United States and the Quartet.

...Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who pushed for a deal for months, is hoping that personal diplomacy with every member of the Quartet will build momentum for his cause to end the embargo imposed on the Palestinian Authority after Hamas' election.

....It was also not clear whether Hamas and Fatah militants, whose running street battles in Gaza have killed over 130 people since May, will abide by the deal.

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