First Palestinian Leader and Hamas PM Meeting Since 2007

RIA Novosti

13:14 24/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has met Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Hamiyeh in Cairo for the first time in more than four years, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported on Friday.

The late Thursday meeting, in Cairo’s al-Andalus castle, came after Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal agreed to postpone talks on the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

The two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, signed a reconciliation deal to end their bitter four-year division in April last year. Hamas seized full control over the Gaza Strip in 2007, with Fatah left to govern the West Bank.

A deal agreed in early February put Abbas at the head of the unity government, however, a bitter dispute within Hamas is hindering the establishment of the government, a Palestinian Authority official told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Hamiyeh has voiced reservations about the reconciliation deal, which also called for a general election in a year, the paper said.

The line-up of the new government has yet to be announced.

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