Hamas and Fatah leaders due to meet in Egypt

By Anna Sheinman, January 9, 2013
Mr Mashaal and Mr Abbas at a meeting in Cairo in 2011 (Photo: AP)

Mr Mashaal and Mr Abbas at a meeting in Cairo in 2011 (Photo: AP)

Palestinian Authority President and leader of Fatah Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal will meet in Egypt for reconciliation talks on Wednesday, according to reports in the Egyptian press.

In a statement reported by Egyptian news outlet Ahram Online, Egyptian Hamas politician Mousa Abu Marzouk said on Tuesday: "Mashaal and the Hamas delegation will try to arrange tonight with Egyptian officials for a possible meeting tomorrow between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Mashaal himself to look into means of achieving Palestinian reconciliation."

Mr Abbas and Mr Mashaal are due to meet Egypt’s intelligence chief separately before conducting a three-way meeting with Mr Morsi.

Relations between the Islamist Hamas party which controls Gaza and secular Fatah, which controls the West Bank, have thawed significantly in recent weeks.

Last week, Hamas allowed Fatah to hold rallies in Gaza for the first time in five years and last month Hamas supporters celebrated their movement’s founding with a rally in the West Bank.

If the meeting takes place it will mark the continuation of the work of a reconciliation accord signed two years ago which has since stalled.

Last updated: 11:44am, January 9 2013