Fatah and Hamas Said Moving Toward Finalizing Palestinian Reconciliation Deal

Palestinian President Abbas' Fatah movement, which rules the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules Gaza, have been attempting to implement a unit deal ever since signing it earlier this year.

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A meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshal is due to take place in November, a Hamas official was quoted as saying on Sunday, as part of an effort to form a Fatah-Hamas unity government.

The rival Palestinian factions have been attempting to put into action a reconciliation agreement brokered by Egypt and signed earlier this year in Cairo.

Israel has rejected the agreement, refusing to negotiate with a government involving Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.

However, attempts to reconcile Hamas and Fatah have hit a wall of late, with Hamas frowning upon Palestinian Authority attempts to gain recognition at the United Nations last month.

Speaking with the Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Sunday, a Hamas official indicated a thaw in reconciliation talks, saying that Abbas and the head of Hamas' politburo Meshal are to meet next month in Cairo.

Izzat ar-Rishiq was quoted by Ma'an as telling journalists in Gaza City that Hamas and Fatah had agreed to hold a meeting, saying: Hamas is concerned to make this meeting a success."

According to the report, the Hamas chief called Abbas to update him on the outcome of the recently signed Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal, saying that the Palestinians were united in welcoming the prisoners back home.

The proposed meeting will discuss implementing the reconciliation deal which would officially end the split between the two factions in 2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.

Ma'an also quoted Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, who said he had recently met Mehsal, calling the meeting "positive" and adding that reconciliation talks would restart "soon."



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