The Hamas-led Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip stated that it turned down an invitation by the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran to attend its conference that will be held this week.The decision was likely made to avoid tension with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Reuters reported that Taher An-Nunu, spokesperson of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, stated that, on Saturday, Hamas leader Ismael Haniyya accepted an invitation to attend the summit, but changed his mind on Sunday in order to avoid any further tension and internal divisions.
An-Nunu said that Hamas does not want to cause any division among the Arab and Islamic nations, and among the Palestinian people.
It is worth mentioning that President Abbas has accepted an invitation to attend the summit while some of his aides were weighing the possibility of voiding the trip should Haniyya decide to go, the Arabs48 news website reported.
Talking to residents in Ramallah on Sunday, Abbas said that the Palestinians will not allow anybody to divide them and to represent them.
Also, the Maan News Agency reported that Iran apologized to Haniyya and told him that his invitation was made by the Iranian spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei, while Abbas’s invitation was officially made by the Iranian President, Ahmadinejad.
Maan said that officials at the Non-Aligned Countries Council in New York objected to the interference of Khamenei, and told Iran that it will be held responsible should the summit fail and should the Palestinians refrain from attending.
The Arabs48 reported that the Iranian Foreign Ministry phoned Haniyya on Sunday morning and informed him that they are retracting the invitation.
Furthermore, Maan quoted a Palestinian official stating that Abbas believes that Iran is might not be trustworthy, and that he is reluctant about attending the summit.
The Summit started its activities Sunday while Foreign Ministers will be holding their meeting on Tuesday, and the official summit will be held Thursday.