Former US President Jimmy Carter is undertaking Saudi-backed mediation efforts between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, a Palestinian source said Sunday.
“Carter has lately met with prominent Saudi officials and urged their intervention to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian factions, which was welcomed by Riyadh,” the source, requesting anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.
“The Saudi government has begun preparations for mediation between the two [Palestinian] movements to reach a ‘Mecca II’ agreement,” the source said.
In 2007, late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz brokered the first Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah, which led to the formation of a short-lived Palestinian unity government.
The 2007 unity government collapsed after clashes began between the two factions months later, which culminated with Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip.
“The Saudi government is seeking guarantees from both Fatah and Hamas that they’re serious about reconciliation before mediation efforts would start,” the source added.
Carter had recently visited Qatar and met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal who assured him that his movement is serious about reconciling with Fatah, the source said.
Carter will arrive in Gaza on Thursday to hold talks with leading Hamas members, he added.
Israeli news outlet Ynet had said that Carter would be arriving on April 30 on a three-day visit to Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
“Israel has officially decided to boycott Carter’s visit, but it won’t bar him from entering Israel or from crossing to Gaza,” the report said.
A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Carter visited the Gaza Strip in 2009 and held several meetings with leading Hamas figures, including the group’s deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh.
(Middle East Monitor – middleeastmonitor.com)