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Palestinian reconciliation talks begin in Cairo

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speak during an event in Gaza City. (File photo/AP)
GAZA CITY: Two-day talks between Palestinian factions began on Tuesday in Cairo, complementing Egyptian efforts to achieve intra-Palestinian reconciliation and restore the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) control of the Gaza Strip.
Delegations from 13 factions from Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora arrived in Egypt on Monday.
Issues on the agenda include forming a new government, holding elections, reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and deploying PA security forces in Gaza.
Deputy chairman of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Fayez Abu Eita, said the dialogue will include enabling the Palestinian government to work freely in Gaza and unify its governance with that of the West Bank.
“There will be bilateral meetings sponsored by Egypt between Hamas and Fatah to complete the discussions,” he told Arab News.
“There’s a delay in the timetable for extending government control in Gaza. The timetable will certainly be amended.”
On Oct. 12, Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement in Cairo to begin implementing Palestinian reconciliation according to a specific timetable.
As part of the deal, Hamas has handed over ministries and crossings in Gaza to the PA in Ramallah. But deployment of PA security forces at Gaza’s border crossings has yet to take place.
Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told Arab News: “The discussions will focus on all the issues in accordance with the timetable set by the Egyptian leadership, which is sponsoring the reconciliation agreement.”
He added: “Issues of government empowerment will be discussed, along with other major issues, but it will take time to implement them.”
Political writer Hani Habib said he doubts the dialogue will achieve a breakthrough due to the factions’ different agendas and priorities.
“I think there will be strong Egyptian intervention in light of the apparent differences, in order to put forward a working paper that represents a compromise, and pressure on the Palestinian factions to agree to it, as happened at the Fatah and Hamas meeting in October,” he told Arab News.

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