Mahmoud Abbas seeks US pressure to cancel Turkish PM's Gaza visit
Beijing: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the United States to pressure Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cancel his planned visit to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said Sunday.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Abbas will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Istanbul on Sunday on the sidelines of the "Friends of Syria" meeting.
"Abbas will ask Kerry to convince Erdogan not to visit Gaza," the official said, adding that Abbas will tell Kerry that Erdogan's visit to Gaza would boost the Islamic Hamas movement and deepen the Palestinian internal rift.
Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and took over Gaza in 2007. Since then, Abbas'rule has been confined to the West Bank.
Erdogan said he will travel to Gaza in May after he finishes a visit to Washington, which brokered an Israeli apology that started to cool down the tense diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel.
Turkey has demanded an Israeli apology for its attack on a Gaza- bound aid flotilla in 2010, which left eight Turks and one Turkish American dead.
Abbas and Kerry will also discuss the latter's efforts to revive long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.