Arab governments are calling on rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to work together toward reconciliation.

Arab foreign ministers maintained their neutrality during a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, aimed at resuming dialogue between the Palestinian groups.

The two sides have been deeply divided since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007, leaving Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party with authority only in the West Bank.

Mr. Abbas has threatened to call elections early next year if the Palestinian factions do not reconcile by then.  Hamas has rejected the plan, saying Mr. Abbas has no power to dissolve the current parliament in which Hamas has a large majority.

The Arab ministers say the Palestinian president should remain in power until a deal is reached.

The group also said Arab governments would send food and medicine into the Gaza Strip, which has been blockaded by Israel following recent cross-border rocket attacks and clashes.

Earlier on Wednesday, officials said a Libyan boat loaded with 3,000 tons of food, medicine, and other supplies left the Libyan port of Zuwara and headed for Gaza.


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