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Abbas , Yassin discuss prisoners issues (JERUSALEM-TIMES.NET) By Hatem Lutfi 06/10/03) Source: http://www.jerusalem-times.net/article/news/details/detail.asp?id=3637
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Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, met leaders of the Islamic Jihad militant group after holding similar talks with the larger Hamas organization last Saturday.
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Abbas made a courtesy visit to the spiritual leader of the Islamic movement of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and the unofficial talks between them focused on the issue of prisoners and other subjects," said Culture Minister, Ziad Abu Amer who serves also as Abbas´ liaison with Palestinian factions.
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The visit on Saturday "took place in a positive and cordial atmosphere, and the two men exchanged their views on the situation on the Palestinian scene," added Abu Amer, who took part in the talks. The series of meetings were aimed at cementing a ceasefire, in place since last weekend, said Palestinian influential sources.
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Neither Abbas nor Yassin commented on the meeting and its results. However, Hamas political leader Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi confirmed that the pair touched on the prisoners issue during what was their first ever meeting.
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"The meeting itself reflects the continuation of Hamas and other factions to stress their will to preserve unity in the Palestinian state," Rantissi said. Palestinian sources, commenting on the talks, said that Abbas had asked Sheikh Yassin for his support towards a conciliatory approach on the prisoners issue.
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The meeting was held ahead of Sunday´s decision by the Israeli cabinet to give the green light to some 350 Palestinian prisoners in a move which was dismissed as insufficient by Hamas.
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Four Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, announced a suspension in anti-Israeli attacks on June 29 but conditioned it on Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners from its jails, ending incursions and the targeted killing of militants, and lifting the blockade on President Yasser Arafat´s compound in Ramallah in the West Bank.
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Both movements reiterated their commitment to the truce during the talks, an official from Abbas´ office said Saturday (Copyrights © 2001 Jerusalem-Times.net 07/10/03)
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