Both sides voiced optimism as talks began in the Egyptian capital, with a top Hamas representative saying he was “full of hope” for reconciliation. Egypt has been instrumental in bringing the two sides together.
Delegates from rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas met in Cairo on Tuesday for talks on bringing the Gaza Strip under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
The Islamist group Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the mainstream Fatah party in 2007.
Now mediators in Egypt are engaged in yet another attempt to facilitate true power sharing between the two in Gaza and the West Bank.
Read more: What are Fatah and Hamas?
Representatives from both sides voiced optimism ahead of the talks being held behind closed doors.
What Hamas representative Izzat Reshiq said:
– “We meet in Cairo full of hope to draw and lay down a road map entitled national reconciliation.”
What Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said:
– “The dialogue committee for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas started work under Egyptian sponsorship” adding the talks “began in the headquarters of the Egyptian intelligence to examine the files to enable a Palestinian national unity government to work in the Gaza Strip.”
What Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah delegation, said:
– The main aim of the talks is “empowering the government in Gaza.”
What the Fatah cabinet said:
– “The cabinet hopes the national dialogue session in Cairo will succeed in achieving reconciliation and reunite the homeland. It expresses readiness to assume full duties in Gaza Strip as soon at the factions have clinched an agreement.”
What Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
– Palestinians should not fall for “bogus reconciliations.”
Netanyahu also repeating calls for Hamas to disband its military arm. Hamas said that point was not up for discussion.
Major points of discussion at the talks will be security, scheduling presidential and legislative elections and an overhaul of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which is in charge of peace negotiations with Israel.
js/rt (AFP, Reuters)