Palestinian Authority may skip Non-Aligned meeting | News | DW | 25.08.2012
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Palestinian Authority may skip Non-Aligned meeting

Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to boycott the Non-Aligned Movement summit if Hamas attends. The Palestinian president accuses host Iran of sabotaging reconciliation between his secular Fatah and the Islamist Hamas.

A Hamas spokesman said the faction's leader, Ismail Haniyeh, would attend the August 30-31 conference in Tehran "in accordance with the invitation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." The statement didn't give further details.

"President Abbas will not take part in the Non-Aligned summit if Haniyeh is present, no matter what form his attendance takes," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said in response to the news.

In Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Haniyeh had been invited to the gathering as a "special guest." Iran is a supporter of Hamas and considers it to be the legitimate government of the Palestinians.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad also criticized the invitation, calling it a "stab in the back of the Palestinian national project."

In 2011, Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation and agreed to create an interim Cabinet of independents to prepare for May 2012 elections. That deal, however, has stalled and those elections have been postponed indefinitely.

The United Nations has said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the meeting, despite protests by Israel and calls from the United States to stay away.

mkg/pfd (AFP, dpa)