Friday, July 17, 2015

Raprochement between Hamas and Saudis, Khaled Meshaal pays visit to king Salman

King Salman
Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and other top officials from the Palestinian militant group met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman and senior Saudi leaders on Friday, a Hamas source said, in the first meeting between the two sides for years.The meeting brought together top members of Hamas political wing with the Saudi king, crown prince and defence minister in a possible rapprochement between the conservative United States-allied kingdom and the traditionally Iran-allied party.
"The delegation discussed Palestinian unity and the political situation in the region. This meeting will hopefully develop relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia," the source told Reuters.
Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 after fighting a brief and bloody civil war with the rival grouping Fatah. Relations with Syria and Iran cooled off after the Arab Spring in 2011 and after Hamas' refusal to take the side of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil , war. Much of Hamas's senior leadership decamped to Qatar after that.
Relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia have improved since Salman assumed the Saudi throne in January and the kingdom has taken on a newly assertive posture in the region. It was, however,  Hamas that made the first overtures to the Saudis. Khaled Meshaal offered his condolences to the Saudis in January, after the former king Abdullah died, and delegations of Hamas paid condolence visits to several Saudi ambassadors in Arab countries. A spokesman of the Hams movement at the time said that Hamas hoped that if the relations with Saudi Arabia improved, the Saudis could influence the Egyptians to improve their relations with Hamas and to lift the Egyptian blockade of the Gaza-strip.   

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