Palestinian rivals are making intensive contacts to prepare for a meeting between their leaders, initially scheduled to take place in Egypt’s Cairo later this month, Palestinian sources said Sunday.
The contacts are being held at the highest levels, the sources said, reported Xinhua. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will head Fatah’s delegation to meet the delegation of Islamic Hamas movement, which is led by Khaled Mashaal.
The exact date of the meeting has not yet been set, according to the sources.
The meeting is going to be the first since Abbas and Mashaal signed an Egyptian-brokered agreement to reconcile and restore political unity to the Palestinian territories in May.
Officials from Hamas and Fatah hope that the meeting will result in common understandings.
Committees of both sides will meet before their leaders do ‘to overcome obstacles on the way of reconciliation and secure the success of the meeting and its implementation,’ said Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas official.
The Damascus-based official told Hamas’ Al-Aqsa television in Gaza that the two leaders will talk about forming a unity government, stop politically-motivated arrests and lift restrictions on Hamas in the Fatah-ruled West Bank.
The two movements failed to implement the articles of May agreement since Abbas insisted to retain his West Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for the new government.
Abu Marzouk reiterated that Hamas will never accept Fayyad as the leader of the upcoming unity government. Abbas appointed Fayyad as a prime minister in the West Bank in 2007, after Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and ousted Fatah in a brief civil war in the Gaza Strip.
During Abbas-Mashaal meeting, names of new candidates for the prime minister’s post would be reviewed, Abu Marzouk said.
Mahmoud Al-Aloul, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said that progress has been made in the run-up to reconciliation. He noted that incitement against Fatah and Hamas figures on the media and internal conflicts have almost vanished. ‘The priority is given to the basic contradiction with the Israeli occupation.’