Abbas says won’t return to Gaza unless Hamas cedes control
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that unless he gets full control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, including the group’s weapons, he will “not be responsible for what goes on” there.
Abbas’ comments late Sunday dealt another blow to months of U.S.-backed Egyptian efforts to negotiate a deal that would sideline the Islamic militant Hamas and enable Abbas’ self-rule government to return to Gaza.
Hamas seized Gaza from forces loyal to Abbas in 2007.
Recent talks between Abbas and his rivals failed, mainly because Hamas refuses to disarm. This comes as tensions are rising on the Gaza-Israel border, with Hamas leading mass protests to try to break an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade.
Abbas told leaders of his Fatah movement he has informed Egypt of his demands and is waiting to hear back.