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Abbas, Hamas Due in Cairo for Talks on Gaza Border


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and a delegation from the rival Hamas faction are due in Cairo for talks Wednesday on the future of Gaza's border with Egypt.

The factions are likely to meet separately with Egyptian officials. Mr. Abbas has refused to speak with Hamas until it gives up control of the Gaza Strip.

President Abbas has proposed a plan for the Palestinian Authority to take over crossing points in Gaza with Israel and Egypt.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have crossed from Gaza into Egypt during the past week after Hamas militants blew up the wall dividing the two regions.

The previous week, Israel had imposed a blockade on Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket attacks into southern Israel.

In New York Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council abandoned efforts to adopt a statement on the resulting humanitarian situation in Gaza and the security situation in both Gaza and southern Israel.

The Council's current chair, Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi, said the 15 member-nations realized they could not reach a consensus on the issue.

The body began to debate the situation in Gaza a week ago. Passage of the non-binding statement required unanimous approval in the Council.

In other news, an Israeli court indicted an Islamic leader on charges of racism and inciting violence in a speech he made last year protesting an Israeli archeological dig in Jerusalem's Old City near the al-Aqsa Mosque. In the speech, Sheikh Raed Salah called for a new Palestinian uprising and accused Jews of using Palestinian children's blood to bake bread.

The al-Aqsa Mosque is one of Islam's holiest sites. The site is also sacred to Jews.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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