Monday, September 25, 2006

Abbas cancels meeting with Haniyeh


"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cancelled his planned visit to Gaza, where he was scheduled to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in order to discuss the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

Palestinian sources told Ynet that Abbas was supposed to set out from Ramallah to Gaza Monday evening or Tuesday, but divisions between the sides convinced him that at this time there was no point in a meeting that would not advance the issues.

Sources close to Abbas told Ynet that in recent days the PA president has returned to weighing the option of dissolving the government and the legislative council, declaring a state of emergency, and appointing an emergency government, or alternatively calling for new general and presidential elections.

The same sources said Abbas has refrained from aiding the Palestinian government in paying salaries planned for last weekend ahead of the month of Ramadan. According to the sources, international elements and sources in Abbas' vicinity convinced the PA president that every payment of salary benefits the Hamas government, while it does nothing to make its stance more flexible, or make it easier for the international community to accept a unity government.

Abbas has become convinced that there is nothing left to talk about with Hamas representatives within the Authority, and he is weighing the possibility of sending a delegation of senior officials to the chairman of the Hamas politburo, Khaled Mashaal, in order to decide finally on the steps that need to be taken.

"We have reached a final conclusion that there is no point in talking with Haniyeh and those around him, as the decision making power is not in their hands. This has been know, but in the recent period, all of the agreements have been violated time after time – making trust between the sides minimal," a Palestinian source told Ynet.

He added that Abbas will make one last attempt to advance the unity government, mainly with the Hamas leadership abroad, and if he reaches the conclusion that there is no chance for such a government, he will decide to either declare an emergency state and set up an emergency government, or to dissolve the government and head for elections."

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