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NGO: Mashaal to meet former US president Carter

May 24, 2012 10:38 P.M. (Updated: May 24, 2012 9:31 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal will meet with former US president Jimmy Carter in Cairo on Thursday, the director of an Egyptian NGO said.

Ibrahim al-Drawi, head of the Palestinian Studies Center in Cairo, said that the former US president was in Cairo to follow events in the Egyptian presidential elections.

Mashaal will brief Carter about the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the status of reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions.

Under a recent deal agreed between Fatah and Hamas in the Egyptian capital, the Palestinian Elections Commission will begin work in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on May 27, after which President Mahmoud Abbas will immediately begin consultations on a consensus government as previously agreed by party leaders.

The former US president met in Damascus with Mashaal in 2008 and visited Gaza in 2009 in the aftermath of Israel's war on the coastal enclave.

During his visit to Gaza, Carter severely criticized Israel's blockade of the Strip, saying that Israel treated Gazans "more like animals than human beings."

Jimmy Carter is author of the book 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid', which criticizes Israel's 45-year military occupation of Palestinian land.
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