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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday called for a greater role for moderate Palestinian factions led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following talks with Turkish officials who are keen on engaging Hamas.
"I have stressed the importance for the PLO to maintain its historic position," Mubarak told reporters through an interpreter, following a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
"This organization is the sole, legal representative of the Palestinian people," Mubarak said of the PLO.
Turkey supports Abbas' role in the process but has also been advocating a policy of engaging Hamas, which has been shunned by Israel, the West and some Arab nations.
Mubarak was in Istanbul for talks on efforts to reach a permanent truce between Hamas and Israel.
Gul said Turkey was ready to contribute to Egypt's efforts toward a lasting truce and Palestinian reconciliation.
"I express gratitude for Turkey's support to Egypt's efforts in bringing about a cease-fire in the region," Mubarak told reporters.
Earlier on Wednesday, more than 100 demonstrators carrying posters of Hamas leaders, protested the arrival of Mubarak in downtown Istanbul, accusing him of siding with Israel.
Also on Wednesday, Palestinians fired three mortar shells from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev.
The mortars hit open areas in the Eshkol region, causing no casualties or damage.
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.
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