Hamas, Fatah delegations meet in Cairo

Delegations of rival Palestinian groups of Hamas and Fatah met in Cairo last night in the first such high-level meeting in months, paving the way for reconciliation talks that will kick off on Thursday, Palestinian sources said on Wednesday.Two more meetings are scheduled to take place this evening and early Thursday “to cool the atmosphere and relieve the tension between the two movements,” the sources said.

Egypt is hosting the inter-Palestinian dialogue where all the factions are going to participate, intending at reconciling Hamas and Fatah and ending the political split between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-ruled West Bank.

The two factions were able to overcome obstacles that rose in the last moment, especially the resumption of media incitement and the accusations of arresting political opponents in Gaza Strip and West Bank.

“There were some sides in Hamas and Fatah who don’t prefer the national reconciliation and that’s why we are meeting now,” said Nabil Shaath, a member of Fatah delegation to the talks.

In addition to Shaath, senior Fatah leaders joined the delegation to the talks, including the head of Fatah parliamentary bloc Azzam al-Ahmad and the chief Palestinian peace negotiator Ahmed Qurei, who heads the delegation.

Hamas also participates in the dialogue with team of senior leaders, headed by the deputy of its politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouq and Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas’ strong-man who is based in Gaza Strip.

According to Shaath, five committees would be formed to settle the differences between Hamas and Fatah, including the formation of a unity government, holding general elections, reforming security services, reforming the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and achieving internal reconciliation.

A sixth committee would be formed by Egypt and the Arab League (AL) and would work only if the dialogue was moving forward hardly, according to Shaath.


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