Crisis talks between the leaders of Fatah and Hamas are said to be progressing well in Saudi Arabia. It is hoped the rival Palestinian groups will reach agreement on a number of key issues, particularly on whether a government of national unity can be formed. Officials say the talks, which went on through the night, are now focusing on the crucial issue of forming a new cabinet.
Fatah spokesman Nabil Amr said the parties would carry on until they reached total agreement: “The atmosphere here in Mecca encouraged Palestinians to go ahead and I am sure that, maybe we will reach the conclusion within 48 hours.”
Previous discussions have broken up without any real progress. Disputes over the recognition of Israel as a state and the renunciation of violence have proved to be major stumbling blocks. But some say that the venue of Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, and the presence of influential Saudi mediators mean a positive outcome is more likely.