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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Abbas accuses Hamas of accepting $250m from Iran

In an interview with an Egyptian newspaper today, Mahmoud Abbas answered why he thinks Hamas stopped reconciliation efforts with Fatah at the eleventh hour earlier this year:

Al-Ahram: You signed the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation agreement .. and Hamas agreed and then declined at the last moment .. what your explanation for their decision?

Abbas: Hamas' Damascus leaders are under pressure and taking instructions.

Al-Ahram: Where are these instructions from .. .. Iran, Syria?

Abbas: They take instructions from Iran.

Al-Ahram: Iran said "no"?

Abbas: Yes, Iran.

Al-Ahram: Iran suspended the reconciliation?!

Abbas: Yes.

Al-Ahram: What is Iran's interest in stopping reconciliation between you and Hamas?

Abbas: Iran is a regional player, while the same relationship with America and want to sell papers in her hand .. It is pushing the value of these securities. [not sure how to interpret this - EoZ]

Al-Ahram: How much did they pay for this paper?

Abbas: I know of $250 million.

Al-Ahram: Is this an annual payment?

Abbas: I do not know if it is every 6 months or every year. They claim that their funds come from charity but voluntary contributions are not equal to the amount they get from Iran, not a qurater or a fifth, or even 1% of what they get from Iran.

Al-Ahram: This is why Khaled Meshaal frequently visits Iran?

Abbas: Of course .. as he did last Wednesday there.
Also in the interview, Abbas again stated that 58% of the PA budget is being spent in Gaza even as Hamas controls all the major institutions there. There is one part where it appears that Abbas is admitting that Hamas is effectively taking the PA money, but I cannot get a good translation of that part.