Cairo to host 2nd Palestinian reconciliation meeting Wednesday: Fatah official

Ahram Online, Monday 14 Jan 2013

Planned meeting to discuss possible resumption of Palestinian national reconciliation efforts from point at which they stalled last July, says member of Fatah's central committee

A file photo of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) with the exiled leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas Khaled Meshaal in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AFP)

An official from Palestinian faction Fatah announced on Monday that a meeting with rival Palestinian movement Hamas would be held on Wednesday in Cairo.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah's central committee, said the Cairo meeting would discuss the possible resumption of reconciliation efforts from the same point at which they stalled last July.

Al-Ahmed also stated that, as soon as an understanding was reached on the resumption of work of the Palestinian Central Electoral Committee, consultations would begin on the formation of a coalition government under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

He also asserted that reconciliation talks would include several parallel committees concerned with issues such as 'public freedoms' and 'community reconciliation.'

The upcoming reconciliation meeting was announced after last Wednesday's get-together in Cairo between Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas' political bureau.  

Hamas, for its part, has denied that Wednesday's meeting saw any discussion of the resistance movements' military wing or Gaza-based security apparatus.

According to London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Fatah has demanded that Hamas dissolve its armed wings and recognise the National Security Forces as Palestine's only armed force. The demand, however, was strenuously rejected by Hamas, the newspaper reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has criticised last Wednesday's reconciliation meeting, describing Meshaal as "the head of a terror organisation."

The revival of talks between Gaza-based Hamas and West Bank-based Fatah comes within the context of an Egyptian-sponsored unity agreement reached in April of last year. The main terms of the deal, however, have yet to be implemented due to ongoing differences over who should head up the proposed coalition government.

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