Lebanon denies role in cancelling Palestinian congress
Palestinian People’s Congress was set open in Beirut and the Gaza Strip on Sunday
By Edward Haddad
The Lebanese government on Saturday denied reports about barring the convention of a major Palestinian conference in the capital Beirut.
A Hamas official earlier said Lebanese authorities were preventing the Palestinian People’s Congress, which is scheduled to open in Beirut and the Gaza Strip on Sunday.
However, Hassan Mneimneh, head of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, denied the claim, blaming “internal Palestinian differences” for the failure to hold the meeting.
"Palestinian parties should clarify the reasons for the cancellation, not the Lebanese government,” he told Anadolu Agency.
The congress convenes one day before the meeting of the Palestinian National Council, a legislative body of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that theoretically represents Palestinians at home and in the diaspora, in Ramallah.
Earlier on Saturday, Hamas leader Raafat Murra claimed that some Arab parties were piling pressures on opponents of the convention of the Palestinian National Council.
Murra said President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Arab officials to "intervene to prevent any activities from taking place against the National Council's meeting."
The Hamas official said the Lebanese government had responded to Abbas' demand and told Palestinian factions not to organize any political activity of this kind on its territory.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have officially boycotted the meeting of the Palestinian National Council.