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Palestinians to meet in Cairo to advance unity deal

Some 13 Palestinian factions are to attend a meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo to discuss steps that could consolidate a recent major reconciliation deal.

According to Press TV, sources from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the entity that dominates the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, said Sunday that talks will open in Cairo on Tuesday and could last for two days.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior PLO official, said 13 delegations representing almost all Palestinian factions in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, will attend the talks, which come more than a month after the PA reached an agreement with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to establish a unity government in the Palestinian territories.

Under the October 12 reconciliation deal, which was brokered by Egypt, Hamas agreed to cede civilian control of Gaza to the PA. Hamas stuck to a November 1 deadline to allow the PA to take control of Gaza’s border crossings with Egypt and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The resistance movement has until December 1 to hand over full civilian administration to the PA.

Hamas has been ruling Gaza since 2007, a year after it surprised Abbas’ Fattah Party in general elections. The territory has been suffering from two Israeli wars and a crippling siege since then. The PA has exacerbated the plight of the Gazans by reducing electricity to the relatively-small, but heavily-populated enclave. Some PA officials have hinted that restrictions could ease if Hamas gives up its arms.

However, Hamas rejected claims that the resistance movement would discuss giving up its weapons, something demanded for years by the Israeli regime and the United States. Officials within the group said the Cairo meeting would focus on societal reconciliation, security, forming a potential unity government, elections.

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