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Hamas, Fatah bid to seal reconciliation in Cairo

The two poles of the Palestinian politics - Fatah and Hamas - will open talks in Egypt, aiming to finalise all issues regarding the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation

AFP , Sunday 7 Aug 2011
Chief Fatah negotiator for the reconciliation talks Azzam al-Ahmed(left),Hamas leaders Moussa Abu Marzoug(centre) and Mahmoud Al Zahar(right) during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt 2011. (Photo:AP)
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Rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas opened talks Sunday in Egypt aimed at implementing a reconciliation agreement struck in May, state news agency MENA reported.

The two sides held consultations late Saturday in the presence of Egyptian intelligence officials, the agency said, adding Fatah's delegation is led by Azzam al-Ahmad and Hamas by Musa Abu Marzuq.

Fatah official Sakhr Bssisso said the talks would focus on "mechanisms of implementing the reconciliation deal," in all its aspects, including the formation of a new government -- one of the main hurdles delaying the deal.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri told AFP on Saturday that his group was "serious in wanting to implement the agreement as soon as possible".

But he added there were some hurdles, namely Fatah's insistance to keep Salam Fayyad at the head of the government.

In early May the two sides signed a unity deal in Cairo and have met twice since to discuss the formation of an interim government.

However follow-up talks between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal have been put on hold.

The talks reportedly stalled over disagreement about which side should get the post of prime minister. Abbas and his Fatah movement want to keep Fayyad on as premier, despite strong objections from Hamas.

Fatah has officially announced its support for Fayyad as prime minister of an government composed of independents, which must organise elections by May 2012, but Hamas has rejected his candidacy, saying it wants somebody from Gaza.

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