Fatah strongman Dahlan downplays reported rift with PA president

Muhammad Dahlan, Central Committee member of the Palestinian Fatah movement, said on Tuesday that he would continue to express his views on developments related to the Palestinian national project, despite reports of a rift between him and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

Following a meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Cairo on Monday, Dahlan told reporters that his relationship with Abbas was one of "friendship," adding that he was currently dealing with the PA president "with nothing but respect."

“However, this won't prevent me from expressing my opinions openly and transparently on issues concerning the Palestinian people at Central Committee meetings," said Dahlan. "No one can prevent a Central Committee member from expressing his opinion."

Dahlan went on to express "surprise" over what he called the "leaks referring to a problem between me and President Abbas." Such leaks, he added, "are only intended to sow confusion."

Press reports last month suggested the existence of a serious disagreement between Dahlan and Abbas due to the former’s criticism of the latter’s policies regarding negotiations with Israel.

Dahlan, who is also Fatah’s media spokesman, did not confirm whether Egypt was acting as a mediator in the reported dispute, but he did say that he and Suleiman had discussed “the unity of the Palestinian leadership" during their meeting.

“Suleiman has always represented Egypt’s fatherly role vis-a-vis the Palestinian cause,” said Dahlan.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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