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Hamas Leader Calls for Dialogue with Fatah
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Exiled Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Meshaal on Friday called for dialogue with the rival Fatah movement after days of infighting between the two groups in Gaza.

"What is needed now is to deal with the Palestinian split," Meshaal told a press conference here, saying Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, supported the Arab sponsorship of a dialogue in the Palestinian national interest.

Meshaal stated that Hamas respects Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian president and wants to cooperate with him for the "national interest" of the Palestinians.

The supremo of Hamas also said that his group was forced to take over Gaza which he said was an "emergency measure" that was not a confrontation with Fatah.

"We were forced to take this emergency measure. We did not want to take it but we were forced to do it," Meshaal said, noting that the lack of security drove the crisis toward explosion.

"We want brotherhood with the sons of the Fatah movement. This was not a confrontation with Fatah. Our crisis is not with Fatah," he added.

Meshaal also blamed elements in Fatah for the insecurity in Gaza while calling for a restructure of the Palestinian security forces.

"We need to restructure the Palestinian security apparatus to be a national force chosen according to merit and not on a factional basis," he said.

Meshaal made the remarks hours after an emergency meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on the escalation on the Palestinian territories.

Following Hamas' violent seizure of power in Gaza Strip this week, which has cost 80 lives, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the Hamas-Fatah coalition government Thursday and declared a state of emergency.

(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2007)

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