Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Syrian president Bashar Assad in Damascus on Sunday, briefing him on the Middle East peace process and on efforts to reconcile between his Fatah faction and its bitter rival Hamas.
Abbas was wrapping up a two-day visit to Damascus as part of a tour to Middle East and Asian countries that also took him to India.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who accompanied Abbas during his tour said, on Sunday, that President Abbas called for Assad’s support to end the Palestinian infighting.
“The inter-dialogue should not fail. We call on all parties concerned, especially president Assad to support efforts to make the inter-dialogue a success,” Erekat told reporters following the Assad-Abbas meeting.
Abbas told reporters upon his arrival on Saturday that his visit was aimed at coordinating with Syria on the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and to brief President Assad on recent meetings between Fatah and Hamas in Egypt.
“The Syrian track is important for us, and the Palestinian track is important for the Syrians,” said Abbas. “There must be coordination and consultation,” he added.
Syria has recently held four rounds of indirect peace talks with Israel through Turkish mediation. Both sides have said they were satisfied with the talks.
On Wednesday, a high-level Hamas delegation met with Egyptian intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman to discuss Egyptian proposals to end the Hamas-Fatah feud. A progress in talks has been reported and Egypt will call for a three-way meeting between Fatah and Hamas on October 25.
An all-inclusive meeting for all Palestinian factions is expected to follow in the first half of November. Hamas’ Damascus-based politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal said Sunday that Egyptian mediation has achieved results, echoing comments made by Abbas a day earlier in which he said the talks have reached an advanced stage.
Speaking at a conference in Doha, Qatar, Meshaal called for the release of all political prisoners in Gaza and the West Bank to provide a positive atmosphere for Palestinian reconciliation.