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Abbas: No direct meetings with Hamas

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 6 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas won't be meeting with militant Hamas leaders during his state visit to Syria, a spokesman said Sunday.

Abbas arrived in Damascus Sunday to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad and other members of the Syrian leadership rather than holding any direct meetings with anyone from Hamas, the hardline Islamic rival to Abbas' Fatah faction, Alalam Satellite TV reported.

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"There are no arrangements for a meeting between the president and any of Hamas' leaders in Damascus," Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.

However, Abbas and Assad were set to discuss measures that could work toward a reconciliation between the Palestinian factions.

"President Abbas was still ready for reconciliation talks with Hamas in compliance with an earlier Arab League resolution," Rudeina told Alalam. "We want to hear a clear stand from Hamas first."

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