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Sources: Emir of Qatar to visit West Bank this week

Dec. 16, 2012 1:15 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 19, 2012 12:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Emir of Qatar will visit the West Bank city of Ramallah for the first time this Friday, informed Palestinian sources told Ma'an.

They said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani will be transported by Jordanian military helicopter via Amman. The emir will first be welcomed in Jordan by King Abdullah before continuing his journey.

The Palestinian sources said the visit aims to balance his trip to Gaza in October. Sheikh Hamad was the first regional leader to visit the Gaza Strip in a trip seen as breaking the diplomatic isolation of Hamas, the rivals of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

The emir pledged $400 million in aid to Gaza during the visit and urged Hamas and Fatah to reconcile.

President Mahmoud Abbas met with the Sheikh Hamas in Doha on Monday, discussing Palestine's admission to the UN as a non-member state, and efforts toward national reconciliation.

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