Abbas, Hamas leader Mashaal begin reconciliation talks in Cairo
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas began talks in Cairo Thursday with exiled Hamas head Khaled Mashaal, in a bid to cement a reconciliation agreement agreed in May between his secular Fatah party, and the Islamist movement, DPA reported.
The deal has so far not been implemented, in large part because of disagreements over who will serve as prime minister of an interim government until elections are held.
The two men are also expected Thursday to discuss other points, including reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization to allow Hamas to join, rebuilding Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and a strategy to achieve Palestinian statehood.
A previous reconciliation pact between Hamas and Fatah fell apart in June 2007, when Hamas militants clashed with security forces loyal to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and seized control of the Gaza Strip.
"We hope we have opened a new chapter," Hamas' spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said in a statement Thursday.