Palestinian leader Abbas in rare meeting with Hamas chief

The National  /  July 6, 2022

First meeting in five years takes place on sidelines of Algerian independence anniversary celebrations.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh have met in public for the first time in more than five years.

The pair met on the sidelines of Algerian independence anniversary celebrations, Algerian state TV said on Tuesday.

Representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas also attended this meeting, which the broadcaster called “historic”.

The last official face-to-face meeting between Mr Abbas and Mr Haniyeh took place in Doha in October 2016.

Their most recent meeting came as Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune marked his country’s 60th anniversary of its independence from France.

Mr Abbas’ secular Fatah party, which dominates the Palestinian Authority that rules the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been at loggerheads with Hamas since elections in 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza.

Mr Tebboune and Mr Abbas signed a document to name a street “Algeria” in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Algeria’s president hosted several foreign dignitaries on Tuesday to watch a huge military parade to mark independence in 1962, when Algeria broke free from 132 years of French occupation.