Abbas, Khaled Meshaal to meet in Cairo on 24 November

AFP , Saturday 12 Nov 2011

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal are to meet in Cairo on 24 Novemberfor new reconciliation talks

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Khaled Meshaal
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas(L); Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal(R) (Photo: AFP / Getty)

"There is agreement on the date of 24 November" for the high-stakes meeting,  a member of Abbas' entourage told AFP on a visit to the Tunisian capital Friday.

An official in Abbas' Fatah movement, Azzam al-Ahmad, had said Thursday that Abbas and Meshaal would meet before the end of the month, without specifying the date. He said the meeting would focus on "Palestinian unity, future Palestinian strategy, the Palestine Liberation Organisation and future prospects."

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is not a member of the Fatah-dominated PLO.

The secular Fatah signed an unexpected reconciliation deal with the militant Islamist Hamas in May under which they were to have set up a caretaker government of independents to prepare for elections within a year.

But the agreement has never been implemented, with both sides bickering over the composition of the interim government and who should head it. Abbas's West Bank-based Palestinian Authority has proposed elections in January in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The last time the Palestinians went to the polls was for parliamentary elections in 2006, which Hamas won by a landslide. New parliamentary and presidential elections had been due in January 2010, but the Palestinian Authority abandoned efforts to hold a vote after Hamas refused to organise one in Gaza.

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