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Fatah, Hamas meet in Cairo to prepare for unity dialogue

Source: Xinhua | 02-13-2009 09:20

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

CAIRO, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- High-ranking representatives of rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas on Thursday held talks here to prepare for the resumption of an inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue slated for Feb. 22.

The meeting was attended by Fatah's Ahmed Qurei, a senior negotiator, and Nabil Shaath, the personal representative of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Hamas delegation sent its exiled politburo deputy chief Moussa Abu-Marzouk and senior leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported.

"The meeting is part of efforts to create favorable conditions for successful Palestinian dialogue," Abu-Marzouk said before the meeting.

He also praised Egypt's efforts to host the dialogue and broker a truce between Hamas and Israel in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

In an earlier statement, Abu-Marzouk said Hamas accepted an 18-month truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip and a formal agreement might be announced in "two days."

The breakthrough came after intensive talks between a Hamas delegation led by Abu-Marzouk and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Thursday.

Last November, Hamas thwarted an Egyptian attempt to launch the inter-Palestinian dialogue, saying it can not sit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas while his security forces cracked down on Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

Egypt has been endeavoring to secure a lasting truce to replace the fragile ceasefire, declared on Jan. 18 separately by both Israel and Hamas, ending Israel's 22-day massive assault in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. It also proposed an inter-Palestinian dialogue on Feb. 22 and a Gaza reconstruction conference on March 2.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei