June 20, 2009 / 12:53 PM / in 10 years

Abbas talks Palestinian unity with Syria's Assad

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) arrives at a hotel with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad after a meeting with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus June 20,2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed on Saturday efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We agree with Syria that the dialogue should succeed,” Abbas’s aide Nabil Abu Rdainah told reporters.

He was referring to Egyptian mediation between Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas, which is supported by Syria and Iran. Egypt has set July 7 as a deadline to find a solution for divisions between the two groups.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile in Syria, cancelled a speech he was due to make later on Saturday shortly after Abbas met Assad. No explanation was given.

Abbas’s visit to Syria is the second since May. His aides said Abbas would not be meeting any Palestinian factions in Syria before leaving for Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah on Sunday.

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