Egypt still mediating Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, assures official

Fatah and Hamas reaffirmed their partnership with Egypt in negotiating a Palestinian reconciliation, and denied asking Turkey to mediate in this issue, government representatives said on Monday.

The state-run newspaper Al-Ahram had quoted anonymous sources as saying that Palestinian President Mohmoud Abbas was visiting Turkey to ask Ankara to mediate the reconciliation talks, out of suspicion that Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsy was unfairly taking Hamas’ side in the issue.

 “Egypt has the final say,” said Ahmed Youssef, a leading Hamas figure, adding that Hamas is waiting for Abbas to begin talks for a consensus government.

Meanwhile, Hamas criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry for asking Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to postpone his visit to the Gaza Strip, saying that this is evidence of coordination between the US and Abbas to maintain the blockade of the strip.

Fatah spokesperson Ahmed Assaf said Hamas is disabling the reconciliation because its popularity has declined, which is why it fears new elections.

“Hamas manages thousands of tunnels to smuggle goods between Egypt and Gaza,” he said. “That is also why it fears reconciliation, so as to protect its illegal trade.”

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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