Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met on Saturday evening with the Syrian president, Bashar Asad in Damascus, but his meeting with Khalid Mashal, Hamas political bureau chief in Syria, was postponed. Upon arriving in the Syrian capital, Abbas met with Asad and held talks with him over several issues that are deemed important to the Palestinians and Syria. He later met with leaders of Palestinian factions in Syria, including the secretary-general of the Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shallah.


Hamas political bureau member, Mousa Abu Marzouq, said that a date for a meeting between Abbas and Mashal had not been set, but the timing will be determined later on as long as the meeting focuses on the formation of a National Unity Government.


“If the meeting is to take place, it must focus on national unity, and a political agenda”, Abu Marzouq stated, “the meeting should focus on the proposal of a state with temporal borders, and other issues that are important to the Palestinian people”.


Abbas’ Advisor, Nabil Amro, said that he hopes that positive meetings will be held between Abbas and Mashal.


Abbas and Mashal have not met since Hamas took office in March 2006 after it won the legislative elections in January of the same year.


Mohammad Nazzal, Hamas political bureau member, said that the Abbas-Mashal meeting will be the first chance, and will be considered a suitable occasion “to void all doubts”, and achieve national unity.


Abbas visited Jordan and met with King Abdullah before heading to Syria.