Hamas, Fatah start reconciliation meeting in CairoFebruary 26th, 2009 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS
Cairo, Feb 26 (DPA) Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah started national unity talks in Cairo Thursday to overcome a bitter split between rival governments in the West bank and Gaza.
The Cairo meeting, sponsored by Egyptian intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, urged Palestinian factions to overcome their disputes and focus on the best interests of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian factions will discuss the formation of five committees to work toward a unity government, Suleiman said. Both Hamas and Fatah will be represented in these committees, which will begin meeting March 8.
The five areas to be dealt with by the committees include reconciliation, elections, interim government, security, and PLO-Hamas integration.
Hamas and Fatah Wednesday had agreed to stop attacking each other in the news media in order to foster “a positive atmosphere” ahead of the talks.
Also, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank released 40 Hamas prisoners as a sign of goodwill ahead of the talks.
The Palestinian reconciliation conference will bring together more than 10 Palestinian factions in Cairo with the aim of establishing a unified Palestinian government.
Hamas took over the Gaza strip from Fatah in 2007.