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No progress as Egypt hosts talks to unite Palestinians

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No progress as Egypt hosts talks to unite Palestinians


President Mahmoud Abbas has been a guest of President Mohammed Mursi in Cairo as the Egyptian leader tried to get both sides of the Palestinian divide together.

The idea was to get Abbas representing secular Fatah, and fellow guest Khaled Meshaal of the Islamist Hamas faction, to discuss how to implement a reconciliation deal agreed in 2011.

But no progress was made as both Palestinian leaders insisted on being kept apart.

The rivals have recently drawn closer since Israel’s assault on Gaza in November, in which Hamas claimed victory. Later that month Abbas notched up a diplomatic win when the United Nations voted to recognise Palestine as a “non-member state”.

But President Abbas remains reluctant to accept any unity pact where Meshaal is given the same status as himself.

The two sides split in 2007 when Hamas rested control of Gaza from Abbas. But the recent Fatah rally in the coastal strip on the date of its birth signalled a possible thawing of relations.

Egypt wants Abbas and Meshaal to form a unity government to oversee elections and to stop the debilitating in-fighting.

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