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Egypt against delay in signing of Hamas-Fatah pact

RIA Novosti

17:22 08/10/2009 CAIRO, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Cairo is against the postponement of the signing of a reconciliation pact between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, the Egyptian foreign minister said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Hamas asked Egypt, which is playing the role of mediator between the two factions, to postpone the earlier announced date of October 26.

"I do not think that those who are trying to postpone the reconciliation really want to achieve the unity of the Palestinian people," Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit was cited as saying by Egyptian media on Thursday.

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 had resulted in failure.

The document envisions 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.

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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