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Fatah, Hamas could sign reconciliation pact in Oct. -Hamas leader

RIA Novosti

01:42 29/09/2009 CAIRO, September 28 (RIA Novosti) - A reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas could be signed in October in Cairo, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has told reporters.

Egypt plays the role of mediator between the two factions, which until recently had no direct dialogue.

"In the next few days Egypt would finalize the final text of the reconciliation pact, and then all Palestinian factions and forces would be invited to Cairo to sign it," Meshaal said after talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

In early September Cairo put forward a new document to reconcile the two largest Palestinian factions, which split in June 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and pushed the Fatah movement out of the enclave. The six previous rounds of reconciliation talks resulted in failure.

The document envisages general elections to be held in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the first half of 2010, a reform of Palestinian security services under the Egyptian control and the release of political prisoners by both factions.

Meshaal added that the Palestinian factions support the deal in general, but some details are to be agreed in the next few days.

Egypt's MENA news agency has earlier reported that the deal would be signed during the final round of inter-Palestinian dialogue to be held in early October. Egypt has already received the endorsement from the officially recognized government of Fatah in the West Bank, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Armed clashes between Fatah and Hamas came some 18 months after Hamas had won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Fatah has renounced violence, while Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and reserves the right to use violence in its struggle to create a Palestinian state.

Reconciliation talks resumed after Israel's assault on Gaza at the turn of the year, which saw some 1,300 Palestinians killed and 5,000 injured.



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