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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hamas, Fatah to finally hold talks

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 16:32:10 GMT | PressTV

Fawzi Barhoum
Officials from rival Palestinian factions have said that the postponed reconciliation talks hosted by Egypt will take place on Wednesday.

"In order for the dialogue to succeed, serious work must be exerted to release all political prisoners from the Palestinian Authority jails in the West Bank," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Saturday.

"Egypt has informed (Palestinian) president (Mahmoud) Abbas and the factions that it will launch a dialogue on February 25 with all Palestinian groups," Azzam al-Ahmed, the head of the Fatah bloc, told AFP.

The Palestinian Authority was due to meet with the leader's of Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, on Feb. 22, however, Cairo officials postponed the talks last week, saying more time was required to prepare both sides for an effective dialogue.

Hamas officials blamed Israeli for impeding the process aimed at securing a lasting Gaza truce and ending the Israeli blockade on the impoverished strip.

The talks are part of an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire package that ended the 23-day Israeli war on the Gaza Strip which claimed more than 1,300 Palestinian lives.

Hamas defeated Fatah in the 2006 parliamentary elections, widening the divide between the rival factions.

The two sides last held formal talks in March 2008 in Yemen which remained inconclusive.

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