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Palestinian leader Abbas to visit Turkey on Tuesday

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Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will visit Turkey on Tuesday for talks about the Gaza war and reconciliation efforts between Palestinian factions, Agence France-Presse reported, citing the Turkish foreign minister on Sunday.

The visit comes as intensive diplomacy is underway to pause the fighting in the almost five-month-old war between Israel and Hamas sparked by the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 attacks.

Egypt, Qatar and the United States have mediated in weeks of talks to secure a truce by the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in a week.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said, “There is a serious desire and effort to reach a ceasefire before Ramadan,” in closing remarks at an annual diplomacy forum in the Mediterranean holiday resort of Antalya.

Fidan confirmed that Abbas would visit the Turkish capital of Ankara on Tuesday at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause.

Both leaders would discuss “the developments in Palestine, the current course of the war as well as the intra-Palestinian” dialogue, Fidan said.

Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel, is a rival of Abbas’s Fatah faction that rules the semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

It ousted Fatah from Gaza in 2007 following its landslide victory in the last Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.

Erdoğan has become one of the harshest critics of Israel’s war in Gaza.

He has branded Israel a “terrorist state” and compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler while calling Hamas “a liberation group.”

The Gaza war began on October 7 with an unprecedented Hamas attack on southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Gaza militants also abducted 250 hostages, of whom 130 remain in captivity according to Israel, a figure that includes 31 presumed dead.

Israel’s retaliatory military campaign has killed at least 30,410 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

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