'Abbas, Mashaal are planning to meet in Cairo'

Ma'an reports: Fatah, Hamas leaders are making preparations to meet with Egyptian president to work on Palestinian reconciliation.

July 29, 2012 12:29
1 minute read.
Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Abbas.

Mashaal with Abbas 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Preparations are being made for a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo in the coming days, the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency reported on Sunday. The two were expected to discuss ongoing Fatah-Hamas reconciliation efforts.

Both Abbas and Mashaal met with new Egyptian President Muhammed Mursi in Egypt earlier this month. Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement last year, but it was never implimented.

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Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority announced it planned to hold local elections in October in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, angering Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri responded at the time: "Hamas regards this unilateral step as undermining reconciliation and a decision of escalation that would further complicate the file of reconciliation and therefore, Hamas holds the Fatah movement responsible for the consequences that may result."

Hamas and Fatah, which is dominant in the West Bank, have been since 2007 when Hamas managed to drive Fatah out of Gaza, splitting the Palestinians geographically and politically.

Hamas suspended voter registration in the Gaza Strip last week in a major setback to the reconciliation effort.

Mursi's meetings with Mashaal and Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh also dealt with discussions on improving conditions in the Gaza Strip, easing travel restrictions on Palestinians in Gaza and Egypt, and the resolving coastal strip's energy crisis.

Khaled Abu Toameh and Reuters contributed to this report.

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