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.