Hamas, Fatah officials in Egypt for reconciliation talks

The officials said Jamal Abu Hashem of Hamas and Azzam al-Ahmed of Fatah held the talks, the first in 10 months, on the sidelines of meetings between Palestinian groups and Egyptian intelligence officials.

Hamas, Fatah officials in Egypt for reconciliation talks

Palestinian officials from the Islamist Hamas group and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party held talks in Cairo on Monday to pave the way for possible reconciliation after Israel's offensive in Gaza, Palestinian officials said.

Hamas, which won 2006 Palestinian elections, took Gaza Strip under its control from Fatah in 2007. Abbas, still in control of the West Bank, is backed by the West.

The officials said Jamal Abu Hashem of Hamas and Azzam al-Ahmed of Fatah held the talks, the first in 10 months, on the sidelines of meetings between Palestinian groups and Egyptian intelligence officials.

"I have met with one of the leading members of the (Hamas) delegation in a long session to decide on dialogue," Ahmed told a news conference. "I agreed with him in a clear way to have another meeting."

The two sides last held formal talks in March 2008 in Yemen, whose efforts to broker a deal broke down after disagreement over whether Hamas should cede control of the Gaza Strip before talks started. Later, in November, Egypt delayed a round of planned talks after Hamas threatened to boycott the meeting.

The current talks come a week after Abbas urged feuding Palestinian factions to form a unity government to prepare for elections after Israel's Gaza offensive killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children. Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians were killed.

Gazans live under heavy Israel siege for a long time and Egypt still insists on not to opening the only Gaza border crossing in a move condemned by Muslims around the world in protests, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives.


Reuters
Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2009, 11:43
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