Divisions remain as Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks due to start


Rival Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah began on Tuesday a new phase of reconciliation talks under the supervision of Egyptian authorities.

In a September joint statement, the special representatives of the Middle East Quartet, comprising the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States, called for the reunification of the Palestinian parties controlling the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

"We meet in Cairo full of hope to draw and lay down a road map entitled a national reconciliation", senior Hamas delegate Izzat Reshiq said on his Twitter account.

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Sissi, who last month met with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY, has stressed that he believes reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas could pave the way for Middle East peace.

The deal, brokered by Egypt, follows a cabinet meeting in Gaza last week, marking the return to work of the unity government.

Azzam al-Ahmad, who heads the Fatah delegation, told AFP earlier that the main point of discussion would be "empowering the government in Gaza".

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The Cairo talks will also address general elections, the judiciary, security and Palestinian Liberation Organization.

The two sides remain sharply at odds, however, over the future of Hamas's 25,000-strong armed wing, which the terror group says is nonnegotiable.

He said that the key issue that was agreed upon for the dialogue agenda was enabling the government to operate in the Gaza Strip, reported the Palestinian news agency (WAFA).

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Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports from Ramallah, the occupied West Bank.