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Abbas' wants to end Palestinian divisions in Cairo visit: Fatah official

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aims to examine possibilities of reviving the reconciliation deal with rival Hamas during a visit to Egypt on Wednesday, senior Fatah leader says

Ahram Online, Monday 7 Jan 2013
Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, in Gaza City January 4, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends to end the political division between Fatah and Hamas during his expected Wednesday visit to Egypt, Azzam Al-Ahmed, a leading member of the Fatah Central Committee told Jordan's Al-Ghad newspaper on Monday.

Al-Ahmed said that Abbas will meet the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in the capital Cairo to chiefly discuss the Palestinian reconciliation process amid a current 'stalemate' in inter-Palestinian negotiations.

He also revealed that no arrangements were made for a meeting between Abbas and head of Hamas' Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal despite ongoing political negotiations between the different Palestinian factions.  

"We hope that Hamas might succeed in stabilise its internal situation as the reconciliatory atmosphere seems stronger than ever, especially after it recently allowed a pro-Fatah rally in Gaza", Al-Ahmed said.  

On Friday, Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Abbas' Fatah held a mass rally in Gaza, their first since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2006 after its electoral victory.

Hamas, in a sign of reconciliation with Fatah, permitted the rally to go ahead as the climax of a week of Gaza festivities celebrating the 48th anniversary of Fatah taking up arms against Israel.

"Victory is near and we will meet you in Gaza in the near future," Abbas said in a short speech from his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, beamed to the Gaza crowd at the Saraya complex on giant screens.

"Gaza was the first Palestinian territory to get rid of (Israeli) occupation and settlement and we want a lifting of the blockade so that it can be free and linked to the rest of the nation."

The two groups reached an Egyptian-brokered unity agreement in April 2011, although its main articles have not been applied so far.

In December, leaders of Hamas and Fatah called for the renewal of reconciliation attempts that has been totally stalled for more than a year.

In Gaza, the exiled head of the Hamas movement Khaled Meshaal, in his first ever trip to the coastal territory, said it was time for the bitter opponents to make good on the deal they signed in Cairo in 2011.

"We want national unity in the armed resistance and popular resistance. I urge you towards reconciliation and national unity of the Palestinian ranks," he said in a speech at Gaza's Islamic University.

"Palestine is too big for a single movement," he added. "Palestine is for all of us, we are partners in this nation. Hamas cannot do without Fatah or Fatah without Hamas, or any movement."

"We are under occupation, we need free and fair elections, then a national partnership to assume responsibilities," Meshaal said later during a meeting with the families of those killed in last month's conflict between Israel and Gaza militants.

The 2011 deal agreed in Cairo was intended to pave the way for presidential and legislative elections by May 2012, but disagreements over who would head a transitional government snarled implementation of the agreement.

In the beginning of 2012, Meshaal and Abbas signed a new deal in Doha, under which the president would head the interim government. But Hamas leaders in Gaza rejected the deal, and accused Meshaal of taking decisions without their backing.

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