Abbas open to Hamas talks if it cedes Gaza control

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he did not oppose dialogue with rival Hamas Islamists but reiterated the group must first relinquish control of the Gaza Strip. Speaking a day after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh renewed a call for reconciliation talks, Abbas said Hamas had tried to “sabotage” the Palestinian struggle for an independent state when it violently seized control of Gaza in June. “But we also say that we are not against dialogue because we want to unite all the Palestinian people,” Abbas told a group of Palestinian students at his office in Ramallah. “But (Hamas) must first reverse its coup so that we can have a dialogue.” The Islamist group routed Abbas’s secular Fatah faction in Gaza, prompting Abbas to sack a Hamas-led government and agree to U.S.-sponsored peace talks with Israel. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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