Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported Tuesday that Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal has left Damascus to live in Sudan at Syria's request, in a move stemming from Syria's desire to advance indirect peace talks with Israel.

The paper quoted Palestinian sources stating that the move was part of a secret deal between Meshal and the Syrian authorities. Meshal has been based in Damascus since his expulsion from Jordan some ten years ago.

Israeli sources believe that the move signals a serious desire on Syria's part to advance the negotiations.

Hamas denied the report. A Damascus-based Hamas official denied the report, saying "media reports that Hamas' politburo chief, Khaled Meshal, and other members will move to Sudan are false." He spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

Israel and Syria announced in May that they were holding indirect peace talks under Turkish auspices. Since then, senior officials in Jerusalem have stated that Syria has carried out a number of measures that reflect that it is taking talks with Israel seriously.

One of Israel's key demands in the negotiations is that Syria break off its contacts with Palestinian militants groups, in particular Meshal's Hamas.