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May 25, 2008

Lebanonwire

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Hamas asks for Arab mediation in inter-Palestinian dispute

Cairo - The Palestinian militant group Hamas has asked the Arab League to broker a deal to end an inter-Palestinian dispute, the league's head said Sunday.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal asked for mediation to end a dispute between his group and the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the same way a deal among Lebanon rivals was brokered, the Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mussa told the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat daily.

"Brother Mashaal spoke with me two days ago and congratulated me over the Lebanon deal and told me that he was prepared for a process of the same nature to end the strife between Fatah and Hamas," Mussa said.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip after internecine clashes with Fatah forces in June. Mediation efforts spearheaded by Yemen and Saudi Arabia failed to end the dispute.

Any Arab mediation would have to be decided by Arab foreign ministers after consultations with Abbas, Mussa said.

The Arabs were disappointed, Mussa noted, by limited progress in the US-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were launched with the Annapolis conference in November.

"Everyone is wondering about the result of the Annapolis conference and the promise of (US President George Bush) to establish a Palestinian state," said Mussa. -DPA

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