RealNews

Abbas Asks Hamas Leaders to Halt Attacks

The Palestinian prime minister, who is under growing international pressure to rein in militants, summoned leaders of the Islamic group Hamas to his office Thursday and asked them to halt attacks on Israelis. However, Hamas said that at best, it is willing to consider a partial truce, and only on condition that Israel stop hunting militants. Israel has rejected such a proposal in the past and said again Thursday it was unacceptable. The disagreement between Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over how to deal with the militias is a major obstacle to getting started on the U.S.-backed “road map” to Mideast peace. Abbas wants to persuade militants to lay down their arms, while Sharon insists they be disarmed and arrested. There were signs Thursday that Abbas and Sharon would meet separately in coming days with President Bush to discuss the peace plan, which calls for an immediate end to violence and setting up a Palestinian state by 2005. Full Story

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