hamas fatah talks 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas and Fatah representatives expressed optimism over the weekend regarding
the prospects of ending their power struggle and said they were now close to
achieving “national unity.”
The declarations followed a meeting in
Damascus between Hamas and Fatah officials – the first of its kind in several
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A high-level Hamas delegation is expected to visit Cairo soon for
talks with Egyptian government officials on ways of ending the dispute with
Fatah, sources close to Hamas said.
They said the decision to dispatch
the delegation to the Egyptian capital was taken following a secret meeting
between Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Egyptian General Intelligence chief Omar
Suleiman in Saudi Arabia.
The rapprochement between Hamas and Egypt was
further boosted last week by the release of two Hamas operatives from Egyptian
prison. One of them, Muhammad Dababesh, is a senior Hamas security official who
was recently arrested at Cairo International Airport. The second man is Muhammad
Naim, son of Hamas’s minister of health, who was arrested by the Egyptians last
Referring to the meeting in Damascus, Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas
official and spokesman, said: “The talks were conducted in a cordial
We reached understandings and hope to hold another meeting
He did not give details about the “understandings,” but said
that they would pave the way for agreement on an Egyptian initiative to solve
the crisis between the rival Palestinian groups.
Bardaweel said the
Hamas-Fatah talks were aimed at stopping the Palestinian Authority from making
concessions during the direct negotiations with Israel, which were launched
earlier this month, and “backing the resistance.”
He said he ruled out
the possibility that Fatah would exploit the reconciliation talks with Hamas to
“cover up for the direct negotiations with the [Israeli]
Bardaweel urged the PA to “draw conclusions” from previous peace
talks with Israel.
“The experience of the past has shown that the enemy
wants to use the negotiations only to dwarf the Palestinian cause and win time
to establish facts on the ground,” he said. “Fatah is required to read very well
the actions and statements of the Zionist enemy and urge the Palestinian
Authority to stop the socalled negotiations.”
A joint statement issued by
Hamas and Fatah after the meeting said the two parties “agreed on the path and
steps toward reconciliation.”
It said they also discussed their
differences over the Egyptian reconciliation plan.
The Fatah delegation
was headed by Azzam al-Ahmed, a legislator closely associated with PA President
Mahmoud Abbas, while the Hamas team was led by Mashaal. The statement said the
two sides expressed a sincere desire to end the split.