Gaza premier to attend Tehran summit: Hamas

AFP , Saturday 25 Aug 2012

Hamas says Gaza's Prime Minister Ismail Haniya is to take part in the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran next week; Palestinian president Abbas, who heads a rival West Bank-based administration, also said he will attend

Ismail Haniya
Hamas premier in Gaza, Ismail Haniya.(Photo: AFP)

The Hamas premier in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, is to take part in the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran next week, a spokesman for the Palestinian Islamist movement said on Saturday.

"Prime minister Ismail Haniya will attend, in accordance with the invitation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, said in a statement.

It did not say when Haniya would leave Gaza for the August 30-31 conference or give any further details.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who heads a rival West Bank-based administration, said last month that he had accepted an invitation to attend and make his first visit to the Islamic republic.

Iran is a backer of Hamas which has long been in conflict with Abbas's Fatah, and the Palestinian president has accused Tehran of trying to stymie attempts between the factions to reconcile.

In April 2011, Abbas's Fatah and Hamas announced a surprise reconciliation and agreed on the creation of an interim cabinet of independents selected by the two factions, to prepare for elections to take place by May 2012.

But the deal has largely stalled, leaving presidential and legislative elections indefinitely postponed, although the Abbas administration has called for local authority polls in the West Bank in October.

Tehran has sparked a fresh wave of outrage in Israel after Ahmadinejad and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei both described the Jewish state as a "cancerous tumour."

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