Palestinian factions to ink deal next week: Fatah
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Last Updated: Saturday, April 30, 2011, 11:52
Ramallah: Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal is to meet next week in Cairo with Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmud Abbas for a unity deal, a Fatah official said on Saturday.

It will be the first time the two men have met since the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, ousting Fatah from the coastal territory after a week of bloody street battles.

"On Tuesday, all the leaders of Palestinian factions will sign the agreement in Cairo with Meshaal present. And on Wednesday, Abu Mazen (Abbas) and Meshaal will be at a ceremony" to mark the deal, said Azzam al-Ahmed.

Ahmed headed the Fatah party's delegation in talks between the two rival factions in the Egyptian capital that on April 27 resulted in a surprise reconciliation deal.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi, intelligence chief Murad Muwafi and outgoing Arab League secretary general Amr Mussa are to address the meetings, to be held at the Egyptian intelligence building in Cairo, he said.

Abbas last meet with the exiled Hamas chief, based in Damascus, at the end of April 2007, just six weeks before the battles which dramatically worsened the bitter split between their two factions.

Last Wednesday's long-awaited reconciliation accord saw the secular Fatah which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Gaza's Islamist rulers agree to form a transitional government ahead of polls within a year.

The announcement sparked a firestorm of criticism from Israel, which said it would damage prospects for peace.

But Abbas said the interim government will not dictate policy when it comes to peace negotiations with Israel, which remains the mandate of the Palestine Liberation Organisation which he heads.

Fatah-Hamas tensions date back to the launch of limited Palestinian self-rule in the early 1990s. The bloodshed that cost about 100 lives in 2007 cleaved the Palestinian territories into hostile rival camps.


First Published: Saturday, April 30, 2011, 11:52

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