Palestinian factions head to Cairo for reconciliation talks

Palestinian factions head to Cairo for reconciliation talks
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniya will not attend talks in Cairo which will take place behind closed doors.
2 min read
09 October, 2017
Palestinian rivals are heading to Cairo for reconciliation talks [Getty]

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas dispatched teams to Egypt on Monday for talks on a renewed push to end their decade-long split after a key breakthrough last month.

Senior figures in Hamas and rival party Fatah will meet in Cairo on Tuesday as they seek to end a political division between the two Palestinian factions.

Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank-based Fatah of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas - whose presidency expired in 2009 - have been at odds since a Palestinian civil war almost broke out in 2007. 

Senior Fatah figures attending the Cairo talks include intelligence chief Majed Faraj and Fayez Abu Eita, a party leader in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority (PA) official news agency Wafa said.

Newly appointed Hamas deputy leader Salah al-Aruri and the movement's Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar will lead the Hamas delegation, a spokesman said in a statement.

"We will not go back to division in any way," Sinwar said on Sunday night ahead of the trip.

Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniya will not attend the talks, which will be held behind closed doors.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian cabinet met in Gaza on Tuesday for the first time since 2014 in a further step towards the PA retaking control of the besieged territory.

The meeting of the government, which is based in the occupied West Bank, comes as part of moves to end a decade-long split between the PA and the Hamas movement, which runs Gaza.

In an opening speech, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah renewed his pledge to end the rift.

"We are here to turn the page on division, restore the national project to its correct direction and establish the (Palestinian) state," he said.

Hamas agreed to effectively hand over power to the PA in Gaza and new elections last month, following a crippling embargo on the besieged territory.

Fatah and Hamas fought a brief conflict in the Palestinian territories after the Islamist movement won legislative elections in 2006. Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since, while Fatah dominates the West Bank.