President Mahmoud Abbas has accepted an invitation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend a summit of non-aligned countries in the Iranian capital next month, official Palestinian media said Sunday.Iran also invited other nations to the summit - but most of them have not publicly accepted, let alone accepted immediately.
Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hussain Amir Abdullah Yan delivered the invitation to Abbas at a meeting in Amman on Sunday, PA news agency Wafa reported.
Abbas receiving invitation from Iran's FM in Amman
The non-aligned movement, which presents itself as independent of any world power bloc, is meeting in Tehran on August 30 and 31.
According to Wafa, Abbas sent his greetings to Ahmadinejad and pledged to attend the summit.
Iran invited Jordan at the same time, and while the Jordanian premier said that Jordan was interested in increasing ties with Tehran, the invitation has not yet been formally accepted as far as I can tell.
Iran also extended an invitation to Singapore, which reacted similarly to Jordan.
On Thursday, Tehran invited Egypt's new president Mohemmed Morsi to the conference, and he also has yet to accept.
Cambodia did accept their invitation. The Sultan of Brunei said that his country would participate, but did not say he would attend.
Notably, Iran did not invite Saudi Arabia.
YNet reports that the conference might not even take place because of animosity towards Iran:
The chances that this convention, scheduled for August 30th, will indeed take place is very low.Abbas' alacrity in accepting the invitation is in marked contrast with most of the non-aligned nations, and he is not making too many friends because of it.
The Iranians are trying to convene it as the historic forum of the non-aligned states, yet too many states prefer not to align themselves with Iran. For example, there is a dispute between Iran and Gulf states about the very notion of holding the event in Tehran. Yet who rushes to announce that he is traveling? Abbas. Even if the convention is ultimately held, it is doubtful that heads of state will be arriving. There is a chance, if at all, that lower ranking officials will be coming. Yet the Palestinians are already sending their president.
With the very declaration that he will be traveling to the Tehran convention, which may not even be held, Abbas is not only providing ammunition to those who object to talks with the Palestinians; he manages to annoy every ally and body that helps and donates to the Palestinian Authority. The PA receives an economic backwind from Mideastern princes and kings who despise the Iranians and fear them. It enjoys American funds, infrastructure and sympathy, and of course, the support of the Quartet – which includes the Western European states at the heart of the sanctions against Iran. So why is Abbas doing it? Because he is very weak and frustrated.
Except in Tehran.