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Saudis work on Palestinians

February 07, 2007|From the Associated Press

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — Saudi officials brought the two main Palestinian leaders to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, on Tuesday to try to end their bloody conflict and complete a power-sharing agreement on a coalition government.

Before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left for the talks with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, he warned that failure in Mecca "would mean the deterioration of the internal situation and igniting civil war," as quoted by the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar. "The word 'failure' is forbidden."

Meshaal and Abbas arrived in the Saudi Red Sea port of Jidda, where they were due to meet King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan ibn Abdulaziz and Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal. The city is less than an hour's drive from Mecca.

The presence of the king and princes showed the kingdom's determination to repair the rift between Abbas' Fatah and Meshaal's Hamas. In the Gaza Strip recently, four days of gun battles between the two parties left more than two dozen people dead.

Egypt, Syria and Qatar have all tried and failed to end the struggle.

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