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Palestinian rivals close to deal in Mecca

Palestinian rivals close to deal in Mecca
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Rival Palestinian leaders meeting in Saudi Arabia to try to avert a civil war say they have made substantial progress – notably on the formation of a unity government. President Mahmoud Abbas from the Fatah faction and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh from the Hamas movement have agreed to give key cabinet posts to independents.

Sources from both sides say they have agreed nominees for the finance and foreign affairs portfolios. The interior ministry will also be headed by an independent although no-one has yet been picked. Both sides have pledged to remain at the negotiating table in Mecca until all hurdles have been overcome. And an announcement could be made tonight. A deal could help end fighting that has killed more than 90 Palestinians since December.