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Abbas: I Set Palestinian Policy

Abbas said he is willing to talk to Israel about anything (file photo) (AFP) 24 February 2006 -- Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas today said that Palestinian policy is set by him, and he is willing to talk to Israel at any time and about any subject.

Abbas made the remarks on Israeli television. He also said that the militant Hamas group is trying to stop the firing of rockets at Israel and trying to calm the Palestinian streets.

Hamas recently wrested legislative power from Abbas's long-ruling Fatah party, and is expected to form a cabinet within weeks.

In a related development, a top-level Hamas delegation is expected to arrive in Moscow next week for meetings with Russian officials.

Russia's invitation to Hamas has angered Israel. Hamas claimed responsibility for a string of suicide bombings in Israel and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Israel, the United States, and the European Union consider Hamas a terrorist organization.