Hamas, Fatah to meet this month in Cairo
A Cairo-hosted meeting between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah will most likely take place before the end of this month, a Palestinian source said Wednesday.
Egypt's official MENA news agency reported that the Egyptian- mediated talks to form a unity government are expected to be held on October 25, reported dpa.
The sources said that a Hamas delegation, which was in Cairo for a meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Soleiman, had asked for the bilateral meeting to be mediated by Egypt before an all-inclusive meeting expected to be held in the first half of November.
A delegation of senior members of the Islamist group Hamas arrived Tuesday in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials toward Palestinian national reconciliation, including a halt to the Hamas-Fatah power struggle in Gaza and the West Bank.
The deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, Musa Abu Marzouk, described the delegation talks with Soleiman as "positive." He said the two sides exchanged opinions frankly and that their stances are very close.
Abu Marzouk said the meeting was a "good step which may prepare us to reach reconciliation".
Suleiman's talks with the Islamist Hamas movement came after a series of meetings hosted by the Egyptian government with various Palestinian factions including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.
"We agree with the Egyptian vision to form a unity government uniting Palestinians, and to ... study how to get from this phase to the next one," Abu Marzouk told reporters late Wednesday in Cairo.
The Egyptian proposal aims at reuniting all Palestinian groups and ending the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, which has been going on since the Islamist movement seized the Gaza Strip in June 2007.
The proposals call for the establishment of a new government consisting solely of independent figures, reconstructing the Palestinian security forces, ending Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip and reforming the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The proposals call for holding new presidential and parliamentary elections in the coming months in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Egypt has been acting as a mediator between the two factions, who has becomes rivals ever since the Islamist group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.