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Fatah rejects reports of reconciliation with Dahlan as 'baseless'

Nov. 18, 2015 1:11 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 8, 2015 1:30 P.M.)

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The central committee of the Fatah movement on Tuesday rejected reports of Egyptian efforts to foster reconciliation between Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and ex-Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan.

The central committee in a statement said the reports were “baseless and false,” according to an official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The committee referred to “rumors” about reconciliation with Dahlan as “illusions seeking to create chaos and to keep the movement and the public opinion busy with marginal issues which have already been settled.”

Dahlan, once a leading figure in Abbas' Fatah party, was exiled to Abu Dhabi after a bout of infighting within the Fatah movement in 2011, and later tried in absentia in 2014 on corruption charges.

Fatah’s central committee issued Tuesday’s statement after Egyptian and Israeli media circulated reports that Abbas and Dahlan were both in Cairo earlier this month, and met in a meeting organized by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to resolve ongoing disputes.

The committee said that attempts to show personal disputes between Abbas and Dahlan were “miserable and suspicious."

Such disagreements did not exist, the committee said, adding that Dahlan had been fired from the movement “irrevocably” after “serious violations.”

The statement said that Fatah supporters would remain loyal to “inalienable nationalistic principles and to the legitimate leadership of president Mahmoud Abbas.”

Dahlan in August said on his personal Facebook page that Abbas was destroying the last effective national institutions and removing mechanisms that hold the president and other leadership accountable.

His statement came amid a reshuffle of the PLO Executive Committee that several Palestinian factions said was carried out unilaterally by the Fatah movement.

Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo was dismissed as PLO Secretary-General and replaced by Saeb Erekat in July.

Abed Rabbo reportedly met shortly after his dismissal in secret with Dahlan in the United Arab Emirates, according to unnamed sources in Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post.

In response to allegations that he been involved in a "conspiracy" with former Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad and Dahlan to "undermine Abbas," Abed Rabbo denied the claims at the time and placed blame on an Israeli attempt to create internal political divisions within the party.

Fatah’s central committee echoed Abed Rabbo’s sentiments, urging media outlets to “beware of those who are trying to disseminate rumors and interfere with the Palestinian nationalistic arena.”

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