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Palestinian Differences Scuttle Moscow Declaration

Palestinian Differences Scuttle Moscow Declaration

Thursday, 14 February, 2019 - 13:15
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shakes hands with Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad during a meeting with representatives of Palestinian groups in Moscow (AFP)
Moscow - Raed Jabr
Disagreements between Palestinian factions have hindered the adoption of the “Moscow Declaration” following a failure to agree on its final draft.

Palestinian parties exchanged blame for such failure, but decided to pursue discussions as part of a new call for dialogue that Cairo is expected to launch in the coming weeks.
 
On the third day of the round of talks in Moscow, the situation seemed unclear, as the factions continued heated discussions shortly after the announcement of a "semi-final" draft of the joint statement.
 
Disagreements mainly lied on the wording of some items, as several participants have refused to sign paragraphs underlining that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was the “legitimate and sole representative” of the Palestinians.

The head of Fatah delegation to the meetings, Azzam Al-Ahmad apologized in public to Russia as an organizer of the event.

“We apologize, we could not appreciate friendship well,” he said. He also expressed “regret” over “optimistic positions in our talk with journalists.”
 
Al-Ahmad explained a few differences, pointing out that some of the attendees refused to sign paragraphs confirming the PLO as the "sole and legitimate representative", as well as texts referring to "the Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital."
 
But a Hamas source held Fatah responsible for Wednesday’s failed discussions, noting that the parties had agreed on an acceptable draft of the final statement.

The head of the Hamas delegation, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said Moscow wanted to issue a joint statement that would be a powerful pressure card in the face of Washington’s moves and the "deal of the century," but “time was not in our favor.”
 
Despite the disagreements, Abu Marzouk pointed to many converging points, including the importance of restoring unity, the need to end the siege on Gaza and to confront US plans.

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