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Hamas official: Party not moving headquarters to Cairo

Aug. 17, 2011 8:09 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2011 3:53 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A senior Hamas leader said Wednesday that the party has no intention of moving its headquarters in exile from Damascus to Cairo.

Salah Bardaweil rubbished reports that the recent visit to Egypt by exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal was to discuss moving the party's offices to Cairo.

“Hamas has not discussed moving its office from Syria, neither was this the goal of Mashaal’s visit to Cairo,” Bardaweil told Ma'an.

The Cairo trip was not a surprise visit, he added, and had been previously scheduled.

The goal of the visit was to discuss reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and the issue of the Rafah crossing. The case of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was not discussed, Bardaweil said.

Separately, Hamas has told the Syrian regime that the party is "pro freedom" and that "the Palestinian people shouldn't be dragged into any troubles."

"The Palestinian people have their own cause, and have nothing to do with what is going on in Syria and Libya,” Bardaweil noted.

The senior Hamas leader also dismissed rumors that reconciliation committee meetings had been delayed until after Eid Al-Fitr [the end of Ramadan] and said that meetings with Fatah will go ahead as scheduled on August 22 in the West Bank and August 23 in the Gaza Strip.

Efforts were ongoing to release 73 Hamas affiliates detained in the West Bank, he added.

Bardaweil also noted that there has been no coordination with Hamas with regards to people fleeing the Egyptian security crackdown in the Sinai, but the Islamist party is willing to cooperate.
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