Hamas: Conference will fail

Hamas said an upcoming peace conference between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will fail.

“The fall conference will be a failure and needs no one to thwart or abort it,” the radical Islamist faction said in a statement Monday on the U.S.-sponsored gathering. “It appears that this has driven the two sides to seek weak excuses.”

Hamas appeared to be referring to efforts by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who are due to convene in Washington in November, to lower
expectations of a breakthrough.

Abbas, who broke with Hamas after its June coup in the Gaza Strip, has tried to prod Olmert into making concrete diplomatic concessions on a future Palestinian state. But Olmert instead seems to be aiming for a less binding statement of principles with Abbas.

Unnamed Abbas aides told Israeli media this week that the Palestinian Authority may withdraw from the conference. Yet no such sweeping move was expected before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits the region this week.

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