Ma'an News Agency
August 31, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stressed his country's commitment to reconciliation between estranged Palestinian factions, his office said Friday, days after invitations to Iran strengthened a rift between Hamas and Fatah parties.

Ahmedinejad told President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday: "We love Palestine, and we are committed to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation as it will contribute to the Palestinian resistance."

He asked Abbas, who leads Fatah, and other parties, to discuss reconciliation in Iran.

Abbas was in Tehran for the Non-Aligned summit of 120 nations, touted by Iran as proof is still has world clout despite attempts to isolate the nation over its disputed nuclear program.

The president had threatened to pull out after Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh announced he had also received an invitation.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman later said only Abbas had been invited to represent Palestine. Haniyeh then insisted he had declined the invitation, citing Palestinian unity.

Sources told Ma'an earlier that the debacle started when Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei invited Haniyeh, while Abbas was invited officially by Ahmadinejad.

They added that Khamenei wanted to show Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi that Iran retained influence over Palestinian affairs, and that Mursi was infuriated by Iran's position.

Mursi's speech at the summit caused waves by urging member states to support Syrians striving to overthrow President Bashar Assad, whose staunchest regional ally is Iran.

The Palestinian leadership is hoping to canvas for support at the meeting for their plan to ask the UN General Assembly to upgrade Palestine's status to a non-member observer state.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017