No Deal as Yemen Talks End

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Yemeni-brokered talks on reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah have failed and Fatah negotiators are returning to the West Bank without a deal, aides to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday.

The main point of contention appeared to be Fatah's demand, included in a Yemeni proposal, for Hamas Islamists to give up control of the Gaza Strip, territory that they seized from the secular faction in June.

"The matter has ended in failure because Hamas refused to accept the Yemeni initiative as is," said Abbas aide Yasser Abed Rabbo.

"Our delegation will come back home tomorrow, but it is ready to head back to Yemen once Hamas accepts the initiative as is."

The Yemeni proposal calls for the situation in the Gaza Strip to return to the way it was before the Hamas takeover and for Palestinian elections to be held, conditions endorsed by Abbas and so far rejected by Hamas.

The plan also envisages creation of another unity government and rebuilding of Palestinian security forces along national rather than factional lines.

Another Abbas aide, Nabil Abu Rdainah, said Hamas had added "conditions" to the Yemeni plan.

Fatah has said it would agree to direct reconciliation talks with Hamas only if Hamas first consented to relinquish its hold on the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians.