Rival Palestinian factions in Cairo for unity talks

AFP , Wednesday 27 Apr 2011

Palestine's rival governments meet Egypt’s new spy chief in Cairo to kickstart stalled reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah

Delegations from rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to hold Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks, Palestinian sources said.

The teams were to meet Egypt's new spy chief Murad Mowafi, whose predecessor, Omar Suleiman, tried unsuccessfully to bridge a split between the two groups that has left Gaza and the West Bank ruled by rival administrations.

The delegation of the Islamist movement, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, includes senior members from the territory and its Damascus-based deputy leader, Mussa Abu Marzouq.

Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, has tried to bring the two sides together since Hamas defeated Fatah loyalists in week-long street battles four years ago, reducing their power base to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Nabil El-Arabi, Egypt's new foreign minister after a revolt toppled the previous regime in February, has said he plans to visit Ramallah, seat of Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas who heads Fatah, to push for unity.

The Palestinian factions were on the verge of agreeing a deal in 2009 that would have led to a transitional government ahead of elections when Hamas pulled out, saying the accord had been revised without its approval.

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