Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has snubbed the Palestinian president, skipping a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Jordan.
An Abbas official said “the meeting was postponed due to lack of time as both leaders had busy schedules”, but Al Jazeera’s David Chater, reporting from Jordan, said it was a deliberate and undiplomatic snub.
Abbas was kept waiting at a palace room for a telephone call that never came.
Instead, the Saudi monarch, who brokered a power-sharing deal between Abbas’s Fatah faction and rivals Hamas in February, urged both sides to talk to each other, saying the infighting was benefiting only the Israelis.
It would be a bitter pill for Abbas to swallow, just days after he dissolved the unity government set up under the Saudi deal and accused Hamas of attempting to assassinate him.
He had said then that he would not enter into talks with the group after it seized Gaza and humiliated Abbas by occupying his presidential compound there.
The official from Abbas’s office said Abbas would meet Abdullah in Saudi Arabia “in the few coming weeks” but gave no details.
The leaders had been expected to discuss Hamas’s takeover of Gaza.
The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt all fear that armed groups in their countries will be emboldened by Hamas’s move and while they have publicly shown the Palestinian president support, they have also leaned on him to engage Hamas once more.
The Saudi monarch and his Jordanian counterpart, King Abdullah II, said on Wednesday that Hamas’s Gaza takeover – which in effect split the Palestinians into two entities – could have “dangerous repercussions”.