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Palestinians Agree to Cairo Meeting - 2003-01-22

All Palestinian factions have agreed to attend a meeting in Cairo on the future of the 28 month old Intifada.

Announcement of the agreement was made by Hamas and its rival, Islamic Jihad, after the Egyptian government agreed to invite all Palestinian factions to the meeting, which could be held in the next few days.

As a condition to agree to attend the meeting, Hamas had demanded that all 10 factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad be invited.

Egypt hopes the talks will result in an agreement that could eventually bring an end to 28 months of Palestinian-Israeli violence, which has resulted in the deaths of almost 3,000 people, mostly Palestinians.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said Egypt is interested in seeing a halt to Palestinian operations against Israel. But Hamas and Islamic Jihad are among the groups that want Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories before agreeing to a truce.

Egyptian officials said it is unlikely the upcoming meeting will produce a call for an end to the violence, but they said getting the groups to agree to meet was a step in the right direction.