Mashaal due in Jordan soon; Netanyahu discusses Palestinian unity with State Department’s Burns.

Jordan’s King Abdullah paid a brief visit Monday to Ramallah, where he held talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on a number of issues concerning the Middle East peace process and efforts to achieve unity between Fatah and Hamas.

The king’s visit came ahead of a planned tour to the US and some EU capitals.

PA and Jordanian officials said Abdullah also briefed Abbas on the recent rapprochement between the kingdom and Hamas, whose leader, Khaled Mashaal, is expected to visit Amman in the coming weeks.

The monarch expressed support for Palestinian unity and efforts to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the officials said after the talks.

The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation issue was also on the agenda when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Monday with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

Burns met with Abbas a day earlier, amid reports that the US sent the Palestinians a strong message opposed to the Fatah-Hamas rapprochement unless Hamas accepted the conditions set down by the international community: that it reject terrorism, accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements and recognize Israel.

Netanyahu convened the inner cabinet of eight ministers late Sunday night to discuss the scheduled meeting in Cairo later this week between Abbas and Mashaal, and the possible Israeli response if a Palestinian national unity agreement is agreed upon.

While no details of what measures the ministers discussed emerged from that meeting, one government official said the decision from the beginning of the month to hold up the transfer of $100 million in tax revenue collected for the PA was not changed.

That decision was taken after the Palestinians gained entrance into UNESCO.

Netanyahu has made clear in the past that if a Palestinian national unity government was established without Hamas accepting the three conditions, it would put an end to efforts to restart negotiations with the PA.

Abdullah, meanwhile, also voiced support in Ramallah for the PA’s latest diplomatic efforts in the international arena, first and foremost the application for membership in the UN.

“Jordan fully supports the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” the official Jordanian news agency, Petra, quoted Abdullah as telling the PA president.

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