Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Arab League "frustrated and angry" after collapse of Palestinian unity talks

You better believe it.
Arab League "frustrated and angry" at collapse of Palestinian unity talks
Date: 19 / 11 / 2008  Time:  10:59

Cairo – Ma'an – The Arab League leadership was "frustrated and angry" at the collapse of Palestinian reconciliation talks the League helped to organize earlier this month, a senior official told Ma'an on Tuesday.
Mohammed Sbeih, the Assistant to the Secretary General on Palestine Affairs at the Arab League, said that restoring Palestinian political unity is a higher priority for the organization even than ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The remark was the most pointed expression to date of the frustration felt by the meeting's sponsors.
The talks between Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah, which were scheduled to begin on 9 November, were cancelled when Hamas withdrew the day before, protesting a campaign of a arrests against Hamas members in the West Bank.
In an interview in his office in Cairo, Sbeih said the League would continue its efforts to bring Fatah, Hamas, and the other Palestinian factions together. Arab foreign ministers plan to take up the Palestinian issue at a meeting on 26 November.
The Arab League is exerting "large efforts trying to preserve some international accords because of this disagreement which causes lots of losses in the Palestinian and Arab cause," said Sbeih.
"We believe that this is the most dangerous situation Palestine has ever faced," he added.
With regard to dialogue, he said: "The Arab League sees no other option besides dialogue and the Secretary General, Amr Moussa, had previously met with the factions and he frequently meets with President Mahmoud Abbas. Frankly, such disagreements are not convincing. The boat is sinking deeper in the sea and still [Palestinian] brothers are feuding."
Still, he said, the League would not "force" Palestinians to accept a resolution of their civil conflict, but warned that in the current situation the gap between leaders in the West Bank and those in Gaza is likely to widen.

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