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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Report: Egypt, Jordan want Hamas excluded from PA

Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and officials from unnamed Gulf states met secretly in Aqaba, Jordan to discuss keeping Hamas out of a new Palestinian government to be formed by Abbas, London's Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Saturday morning.

Egypt, Jordan and an unnamed Persian Gulf state are opposed Hamas' participation in a Palestinian unity government, according to the report. Arab officials do not want Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh - whom they consider moderate - to continue serving as PA prime minister, because they see him as ultimately subordinate to Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashal. The Arab officials would prefer to see an independent candidate - like Palestinian businessman Munib al-Masri - for the premiership.

The report said Abbas accused Israel of trying to delay a resolution to the Gilad Shalit hostage crisis by making use of non-Egyptian mediators, including Turkey, Norway, and Spain.

The PA chairman also said Syria and Iran wanted to see the negotiations fail, and requested that talks be coordinated through him personally, because Hamas would try to take credit for any successful resolution.

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