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Hamas to Discuss Possible Prisoner Exchange in Egypt


Members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas are to travel to Cairo Tuesday for talks with Egyptian officials on a potential prisoner exchange with Israel.

Hamas officials say the delegation will discuss ways to advance a truce between the Palestinian group and Israel. They say the talks also will focus on repairing a rift between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.

The two Palestinian factions have been at odds since Hamas routed Fatah forces in a takeover of the Gaza Strip last year.

In other news, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will not be able to reach a full peace deal with the Palestinians by the end of this year. But he told lawmakers Monday that differences over final borders and the issue of Palestinian refugees are not insurmountable.

Palestinian officials criticized Mr. Olmert's comments, accusing him of giving up on the peace process. Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas restarted peace talks last November with the goal of reaching a deal by the end of 2008.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Monday that Washington hopes the two sides will agree this year to an outline for further peace talks. She said Washington never expected a final peace deal before President George Bush leaves office in January.



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

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