Abbas arrives in Cairo for Gaza talks

Israel Materials 1 February 2009 19:41 (UTC +04:00)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived here Sunday for talks with Egyptian leaders on the latest developments of the Palestinian issue, particularly the current situation in the Gaza Strip, Xinhua reported.

During his two-day unscheduled visit to Cairo, Abbas is expected to have talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday.

Abbas' Cairo tour was due to "a breakthrough" reached recently between Egyptian mediators and representatives of Hamas-led Palestinian factions on the Gaza issue, said the Egyptian MENA news agency.

"Such a state of affairs offers an opportunity that should not be missed," Nabil Shaath, the personal representative of the Palestinian president, was quoted as saying on Sunday.

After his stop in Cairo, Abbas is expected to fly to the Czech Republic for more talks with Europeans.

Egypt has been engaged in intensive talks with various Palestinian groups to consolidate a fragile ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians since Jan. 18 and help resume an inter- Palestinian national unity dialogue.

According to earlier reports, representatives of Hamas and the Palestinian Legislative Council also arrived in Egypt on Saturday for talks with Egyptian officials on shoring up the ceasefire in Gaza.

The Palestinian team is likely to have talks on Sunday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit.

Egypt has proposed to start a "lasting" truce between Israel and Palestinian militant groups as of Feb. 5 and resume the inter- Palestinian national unity dialogue on Feb. 22.

Egypt has also offered to host an international conference on March 2 for Gaza reconstruction, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 28.