Accessibility links

Palestinian Reconciliation Talks Resume


The Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah are meeting for a fifth time in the hopes of eventually forming a unity government.

Representatives from the two groups met with Egyptian mediators in Cairo on Saturday.

The two factions have been at odds since Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

A member of the Fatah delegation said the issue of a unity government and security responsibilities are the key points of contention.

Previous rounds of negotiations have also broken down over a fundamental disagreement on how to deal with Israel.

Fatah, which heads the Palestinian Authority, is willing to negotiate with Israel over the formation of a Palestinian state, but Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan Saturday, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called on Hamas to recognize Israel and accept a two-state solution.

Erekat said it is the "only way to form a national unity government."

On Saturday, Hamas told the French news agency its delegation would not discuss recognition of Israel.

Spokesman Fawzi Barhum said Hamas was willing to talk about all options except what he described as " the American card” which stresses recognition of what he described as "the Zionist entity."

There has increased pressure on the Palestinians to resolve their difference.

During a meeting Friday in Damascus, Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad discussed concerns about the continuing divide within the Palestinian leadership, and its impact on the peace process.

The Turkish leader urged the two factions to unite, saying it is unthinkable to imagine two, separate Palestinian states.

XS
SM
MD
LG