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Hamas, Fatah agree to reconciliation talks in Cairo: Palestinian sources

Egypt's new president set to make first foray into delicate issue of Palestinian reconciliation, say informed sources; Morsi claims to stand 'at equal distance' from Hamas, Fatah

Saleh Naamy, Wednesday 18 Jul 2012
Fatah & Hamas
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (R) speaks as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) listens during a ceremony to sign a pact between Hamas and Fatah to end a four-year rift, in Cairo May 4, 2011.(Photo: Reuters)
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Khaled Meshaal, political head of Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have both tentatively agreed to hold reconciliation talks in Cairo in coming days, Palestinian sources revealed.

The long-awaited talks – to be mediated by new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi – will most likely take place on Saturday, said the sources, noting that Morsi was scheduled to meet Abbas on Wednesday evening and Meshaal on Thursday.

"Morsi is expected to put considerable pressure on the leadership of both sides in order to reach consensus on all outstanding issues," the sources said. 

The meeting will represent the new Egyptian president's first foray into the thorny issue of Palestinian reconciliation.

On Friday, at a Cairo news conference with Tunisian counterpart Moncef Marzouki, Morsi expressed his support for the cause of Palestinian national independence and called on the feuding factions – Hamas and Abbas' US-backed Fatah Party – to reconcile.

Morsi went on to stress the importance of Arab support for the Palestinians, noting that the Tel Aviv regime insisted on building Jewish-only settlements on stolen Palestinian land while calling for talks ostensibly aimed at a 'two-state' solution to the perennial  conflict.

Although Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood – from which Morsi hails – enjoys historic ties with Hamas, the president stressed that he stands "at an equal distance from all Palestinian factions."

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