Abbas heads for Jordan for talks with PLO

By Xinhua

Ramallah : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is heading for Jordan later Thursday for talks with officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council, his aide said.

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Nabil Amer, an advisor to Abbas, told a news conference that “the president will head for Jordan today to prepare for a decisive meeting for the Central Council on July 18.”

Amer said the PLO Central Council is scheduled to convene in Ramallah next Wednesday and the session “is to push forward efforts on holding early elections to get out of the current Palestinian impasse.”

Abbas had planned to hold early presidential and legislative elections before the sacked Hamas-led national unity government was forged on March 17.

Concerning a Palestinian national dialogue, Amer said, “We are not rejecting any national Palestinian dialogue with Hamas or other factions. We reject holding any dialogue under the pressure of the coup that Hamas carried out in the Gaza Strip.”

On June 14, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip following days of bloody infighting with Fatah led by Abbas, who in turn dissolved the Hamas-led unity government and swore in an emergency replacement in the West Bank, which Hamas denounced as “illegitimate.”

Hamas has made several overtures to Abbas for talks, but Abbas has insisted on Hamas’ recognition of the emergency government, handing over ministries, institutions and documents to it, and returning matters to the pre-June 14 conditions in the Gaza Strip.

Turning to an expected meeting between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Amer denied that a date had been set for the meeting. Earlier reports said Abbas and Olmert may meet next Monday.

“No meeting had been decided yet between them, but efforts are underway to hold meeting as soon as possible,” said Amer.