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Hamas courts Saudis

Hamas is seeking a rapprochement with Saudi Arabia to improve its leverage in Palestinian reconciliation talks, which might not please Egypt, which has long brokered the discussions, or Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas's exiled leader Khaled Meshaal (L) holds a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal following a meeting in Riyadh on Januray 3, 2010. Meshaal said that the Egyptian-led talks aimed at reconciling the Palestinian Islamist movement and its rival Fatah were close to bearing fruit. AFP PHOTO/PAUL HANDLEY (Photo credit should read PAUL HANDLEY/AFP/Getty Images)
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Despite the tensions plaguing Hamas’ regional relations, including its ruptures with Egypt and Iran, the movement continues in its effort to overcome its current isolation, which is exacerbated by the actions and policies of Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and others in the region. In this regard, Hamas is seeking a rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, hoping to move beyond the deadlock that characterized relations during the reign of the late King Abdullah.

In early May, Hamas called for Saudi intervention in its stalled reconciliation talks with Fatah. Ali Baraka, Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, said on May 5 that Khaled Meshaal, head of the Hamas Political Bureau, had contacted King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud in late February to discuss the kingdom's support of Palestinian reconciliation, reconstruction in Gaza and lifting of the Gaza blockade. Ismail Haniyeh, deputy head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, had said on May 1 that Riyadh is working to bring about a new reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah. Meanwhile, arrangements are being made for a Hamas delegation to visit Riyadh.

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