Abbas, Mashaal to meet in Cairo for unity talks

The meeting in Egypt will be fourth meeting between PA president, Hamas chief; leaders to discuss obstacles preventing implementation of deal.

Abbas meets Mashaal in Cairo 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Abbas meets Mashaal in Cairo 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal are expected to meet in Cairo next week to discuss the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation between the two sides, and the formation of a Palestinian unity government, sources close to the two parties said Wednesday.
The meeting would be the fourth between Abbas and Mashaal since May 2011, when they announced in Cairo an agreement to end the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas.
Amin Maqboul, a senior Fatah official in Ramallah, said that the two would discuss ways of overcoming obstacles hindering the implementation of the reconciliation pact.
Despite the agreement, Fatah and Hamas have failed to make progress toward ending their dispute. The two parties have yet to agree on the make-up of the proposed unity government and other issues related to security and elections.
In addition, Hamas has accused the PA of continuing its security clamp-down on Hamas supporters in the West Bank. Hamas officials said Wednesday that PA security forces have arrested more than 70 supporters of the Islamist movement in the past three months.
A source close to Hamas confirmed that Abbas and Mashaal would meet in Cairo next week.
The source said that Hamas has suggested that the unity government be headed by Ziad Abu Amr, an independent legislator from the Gaza Strip, who is also acceptable to Fatah.
In an unrelated development, Abu Ali Shaheen, a veteran Fatah official, Wednesday called on Abbas not to run in the next Palestinian presidential election and to pave the way for younger leaders to rise to power.
“I will do all that I can to stop him from presenting his candidacy once again," Shaheen told the London-based Al-Quds Al- Arabi newspaper. “We’ve had enough. We want to see young people like [jailed Fatah official] Marwan Barghouti. We want a capable young man who could deliver.”
Shaheen is a staunch supporter of Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah security commander who was recently expelled from Fatah following a sharp dispute with Abbas.