Fatah, Hamas set to hold April unity talks in Cairo

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Abbas311 reuters (photo credit: reuters)
Abbas311 reuters
(photo credit: reuters)
Hamas and Fatah have agreed to renew unity talks in Cairo next month to discuss ways of ending their conflict.
The decision follows a series of meeting between leaders of Hamas and Fatah in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Syria over the past few days.
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Last weekend, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with several Hamas officials in his Ramallah office, including Abdel Aziz Dweik and Nasser Eddin al-Shaer, the movement’s most high-ranking representatives in the West Bank.
Khaled Abdel Majiud, secretary- general of the National Committee and Alliance of Palestinian Factions, said Monday that Hamas and Fatah officials who met in Damascus in the past few days had agreed to resume reconciliation talks in Egypt next month.
He added that Abbas’s recent initiative to visit the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas leaders would be postponed until the talks were concluded.
The Cairo talks would be the first since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.
The Hamas-Fatah talks will focus on Abbas’s offer to travel to the Gaza Strip, the establishment of a new government and unified political leadership, and holding presidential and parliamentary elections, Abdel Majiud said.
He said discussions between the two sides in Syria had been held in a positive and friendly atmosphere.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, who is currently visiting Cairo, expressed hope on Monday that Abbas would delay his plan to visit the Gaza Strip until the two parties reached an agreement.
“There’s a consensus in Hamas about the need to move forward toward reconciliation [with Fatah],” Zahar told reporters.
Zahar, the first senior Hamas official to visit Egypt since Mubarak stepped down earlier this year, said that the Egyptian “revolution” was good for the Palestinian cause. He added that the ruling Military Council had entrusted one of its members to meet with him, and voiced hope that he would also meet with Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi.
The Hamas leader said that his movement would like to see Egypt reopen the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip and release all Hamas prisoners held in Egyptian prisons. Hamas also wants the Egyptians to reopen their embassy in Gaza City.