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Archive for Monday, September 18, 2006

Abbas, Hamas halt talks over Israel recognition

September 18, 2006


— Coalition talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the militant group Hamas have stalled over U.S. demands that a national unity government recognize Israel, Palestinian officials said Sunday.

The suspension of negotiations underscores the difficulty Abbas is having in trying to get Hamas to soften its anti-Israel ideology, a move that would pave the way to ending international sanctions that are crippling the Palestinian economy.

Abbas will use a meeting this week with President Bush on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York to try to win U.S. support for a coalition that doesn't fully meet international demands for a changed stance on Israel, Palestinian officials said.

They said he would warn that failure to work out a unity government could lead to a Palestinian civil war.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, said they were making progress in talks to win the release of an Israeli soldier captured three months ago by Hamas-linked militants in Gaza. That attack sparked an Israeli offensive in Gaza that further worsened the plight of Palestinians.


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