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Hamas chief, former Quartet envoy Blair meet in Qatar

Khaled Mashaal and ex-British PM said to discuss outline for ceasefire with Israel and lifting of blockade

Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal in Doha, Qatar, August 2014 (screen capture: Yahoo News)
Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal in Doha, Qatar, August 2014 (screen capture: Yahoo News)

Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal and former Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair met at least twice over the past month-and-a-half to discuss an outline for a ceasefire agreement with Israel, which would include a lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

According to a Wednesday report in the Huffington Post’s Arabic language news site, the most recent meeting between the two men took place in the Qatari capital of Doha, where Mashaal currently resides after being exiled from the Gaza Strip.

Over the past months, Hamas has been sending messages to Israel regarding its desire to reach an agreement on a long-term truce in Gaza. The messages are being relayed through various international mediators, including Blair.

Earlier this month, Mashaal met in Doha with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who offered to help the Palestinians in their pursuit of statehood.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair (AP/Matt Rourke)
Former British prime minister Tony Blair (AP/Matt Rourke)

“We would like to see the Palestinians — all of them — have their permanent home,” Lavrov said, according to Russian media reports, adding that Moscow would be working toward that goal.

“We hope that with assistance from Russia and the whole world, this dream will come true,” Mashaal responded.

During the meeting, the two discussed the possibility of reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as well as what Mashaal termed Israel’s “violation of Christian and Muslim holy sites.”

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