Palestinian reconciliation dialogue threatened, source says

Talks to reconcile differences between feuding Palestinian factions could fall apart if Egyptian mediators refuse to consider input from the factions, a source close to the negotiations said Wednesday.

"Egypt told the Palestinian factions that it would not consider the comments and amendments made by the factions on the draft submitted by Cairo," said Khaled Abdel Meguid, secretary of the follow-up committee of a national meeting of Palestinians, dpa reported.

The talks, scheduled to run from November 10-11, are designed to seek peace between the Islamic group Hamas, which has de facto control of the Gaza Strip, and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is to officiate at the meeting.

"Cairo's refusal to consider the amendments threaten the possibility of holding the conference. The leaders of the Palestinian factions are re-examining their positions again," Abdel Meguid told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"The factions will determine their final positions towards the Egyptian call in the next few days," added Abdel Meguid, pointing out that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - who heads the secular Fatah movement - will chair the meetings of the Palestinian national dialogue.

Egypt has been brokering national reconciliation talks between all Palestinian factions for months. The Egyptian draft, which all factions received last week, calls for reforming the Palestinian security services, which is divided between the factions, and forming a new national unity government.

One of the main missions will be ending the months-long siege of the Gaza Strip, which Hamas seized control of in June 2007. The strip has endured international isolation and economic sanctions ever since.

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