Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was due to travel to Qatar on Wednesday at the start of a foreign trip that will also take him to several European countries, his spokesman said.

From Qatar the Palestinian leader is due to travel to the Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating European Union presidency, and to Norway and Sweden, Nabil Abu Rudeina said without giving the exact dates of the visit.

Abbas goes to Qatar following acerbic criticism of the emirate by Palestinian Authority officials that he heads for its support of rival Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

In mid-January, Qatar invited Hamas’s exiled political supremo Khaled Meshaal to an Arab meeting devoted to Israel’s Gaza war. Abbas boycotted the meeting.

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