PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh [file].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO - Palestinian factions met in Cairo on Wednesday for two days of talks aimed at mending a rift that could threaten Egyptian-mediated negotiations to turn the Gaza ceasefire into a lasting truce with Israel.
The split between the Islamist movement Hamas
and Palestinian Authroity President Mahmoud Abbas
faction relates to several key issues including control of Gaza
. The disagreement could undermine any broader deal with Israel
The ceasefire struck last month
and the Palestinians to end the Gaza
incursion included stipulations that the Palestinian Authority
, led by Abbas, should take over civil administration in Gaza
But a dispute over the Palestinian Authority
's non-payment of salaries to Gaza
's public sector workers (who are members of the Strip's Hamas administered government) has brought tensions between the two main Palestinian factions to near-breaking point, raising the risk of a return to conflict.
Sakher Bseiso, a Fatah
central committee member taking part in the talks, said Fatah
would discuss issues including security, elections and governance of the Gaza Strip
talks will discuss enabling the unity government to undertake its role in Gaza Strip
and (conduct) bilateral relations between the two movements," he said.
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Moussa Abu Marzouk
, deputy chairman of Hamas
' political bureau, wrote on his Facebook page about "the Palestinian-Palestinian dialog," saying: "The most important thing this dialog needs is good intentions, mutual trust and national responsibility ... and commitment to what has been agreed upon."
and the Palestinians agreed on Tuesday to resume talks late next month on cementing a Gaza
ceasefire, allowing time for Palestinian factions to resolve their divisions.
Egyptian security officials said Wednesday's meetings were occurring under the supervision of Egyptian intelligence
but gave no details, not even the location of the talks.
Egyptian-mediated talks in July and August succeeded in securing a series of ceasefires aimed at laying the groundwork for talks on a broader deal.
Efforts to cement a permanent truce could prove difficult, though, with the sides far apart on their central demands, even if the dialog among Palestinians yields a unified position.
, a Fatah
official leading the joint delegation in Cairo
, said on Tuesday that as well as control of Gaza
wants decisions on war and peace to be taken at the national level rather than by individual factions.
Fifty days of conflict between Hamas
left some Gaza
districts devastated. More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in the fighting, according to the Gaza
Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel
were also killed. Israel
launched the offensive on July 8 with the declared aim of halting cross-border rocket salvoes by Hamas
and other terrorist groups and destroying tunnels that Hamas had built to infiltrate Israel and carry out terrorist attacks.
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