Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hamas and Fatah leaders hold reconciliation talks with President Mursi in Cairo

Leader of Fatah and president of the Palestinian authority Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas head, Khaled Meshal, met separately with Egyptian President Morsi in Cairo. They then held reconciliation talks with president Morsi mediating.
The two Palestinian factions signed a reconciliation pact in Cairo in May of 2011 but the main points in that agreement are not yet implemented. Officials from Hamas and Fatah said that the talks will focus on a unity government. This would make it possible to hold parliamentary and presidential elections that are long overdue.
Hamas won a majority of seats in elections in 2006 and took over the Gaza strip in 2007. Hamas recently allowed Fatah to hold rallies in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas. Fatah has reciprocated by allowing Hamas rallies in the West Bank. The Hamas delegation is also slated to meet with Egyptian intelligence representatives to talk about the ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip. Hamas was formed in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and hence has historical ties with the group associated with Egyptian president Mursi.
Egypt was instrumental in negotiating the truce that ended an 8-day military offensive launched by Israel last November. More than 150 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were killed in the conflict. Hamas has refused to renounce violence and also does not recognize Israel's right to exist. However, the present leader Khaled Meshal has said that he would agree to a settlement with Israel based upon the 1967 borders but with the right of return of all displaced Palestinians. Israel, US, and the EU all designate Hamas as a terrorist group, although Iran, Russia,Turkey, and Arab nations do not. A unified Palestinian movement would give more power to the Palestinians in negotiating with Israel. However, both Israel and the US are opposed to a unified government with Hamas given the stance of Hamas on Israel and the use of violence.

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