Hamas denies tension with Qatar over unity deal

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 23.10.2017 20:25
Updated 24.10.2017 01:29

Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Sunday denied reports about tension with Qatar. Local media earlier quoted Yahya al-Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, saying during a meeting last week that Hamas' relations with Qatar were tense. In a statement, Hamas said claims about tense relations between the group and Doha were "untrue." The Palestinian group went on to hail Qatar for its support for the Palestinian people.

Hamas has maintained strong ties with Qatar, which hosts a number of group leaders, including former political chief Khaled Meshaal. Qatar has been under a blockade by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who cut their diplomatic ties with Doha in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the accusations and contends that the blockade was in violation of international law.

In addition, the deputy head of the Palestinian group vowed to keep close ties with Israel's arch-enemy Iran and to maintain its weapons, Iranian media reported on Sunday, rejecting Israeli preconditions for any peace talks.

Israel said on Tuesday it would not hold peace negotiations with a Palestinian government dependent on Hamas and demanded that Hamas recognize Israel, disarm, and sever its ties with Iran. Hamas and rival party Fatah have agreed a deal that should see the former hand over control of Gaza to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority by Dec. 1, with talks also expected on forming a unity government. The move came after two days of negotiations in the Egyptian capital on the governing of the Gaza Strip as part of the most serious effort to date to end the 10-year rift between the rival Palestinian groups.

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