Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ismail Haniyeh to travel outside Gaza for first time since imposition of siege in 2007

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Turkey to meet with top Turkish officials to discuss measures for recognition of the Palestinian state on Monday, around the time news regarding a plan from Gaza leader İsmail Haniyeh to visit Turkey in the near future surfaced in international media.

The Gazan prime minister will travel in the near future to Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar and Tunisia, four nations that have invited Haniyeh for a visit, the Associated Press news agency reported, citing Yusef Rizka, political advisor to the prime minister. No date was specified by Rizka, and Turkish officials were not available for immediate comment on the plans.

Abbas arrived in the central Anatolian province of Konya on Monday to meet Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was in the city to attend an EU review meeting and participate in Mevlana commemorations. Abbas is scheduled to move on to Ankara with Davutoğlu to meet his counterpart Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in separate sessions to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Although Abbas pays frequent visits to Turkey, it will be the first time Haniyeh has left Gaza since the Hamas movement seized power in Gaza, as the leader was busy in the region for both foreign and domestic reasons, the AP added. more