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No common grounds found on Palestinian visit

CAIRO: For the second day of separate meetings in Cairo, it seemed that neither Hamas nor Fatah was willing to budge from its position while Egyptians tried to broker some sort of compromise. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas met with President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday and remained in Egypt Thursday for further talks. Officials …


CAIRO: For the second day of separate meetings in Cairo, it seemed that neither Hamas nor Fatah was willing to budge from its position while Egyptians tried to broker some sort of compromise.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas met with President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday and remained in Egypt Thursday for further talks. Officials from rival faction Hamas traveled into Egypt from the Rafah border crossing and met with Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman.

However, it seemed that neither side was willing to give an inch from its stated position. Abbas wants Hamas to relinquish complete control of Gaza and the border with Egypt, while Hamas insists that reality on the ground dictates otherwise.

Abbas had said, “There is no ‘Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.’ There is only one Palestinian Authority, further labeling his rivals “illegitimate and “subversive.

Sami Abu Zuhri from Hamas condemned Abbas’ remarks, calling them inappropriate and not conducive to an atmosphere of dialogue.

Hamas feels their legitimacy stems from their democratic electoral victory.A senior Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Al-Zahar said, “Fatah ruled for 15 years without an election. Then we won, and we have a full term in front of us. Why would we agree to ignore the process of democracy?

CEO of the Palestinian Ramattan news agency Qassem Ali told Daily News Egypt that a solution needed to be reached for the good of the Palestinian people who were paying the price of the conflict.

“Without sitting them together, there is no solution, and unfortunately the dispute has turned the conflict from the Israeli siege to the internal dispute, Ali said. “This is from the Israeli occupation, not from anything else, but the internal dispute has changed that.

He added, “Abbas has lifted his hands from Gaza. What about the people in Gaza who are suffering [under Hamas’ rule]? There needs to be pressure on them to resolve this, and we must be aware not to turn this into a Palestinian-Egyptian problem. We must make sure the border with Egypt is secured.

After meeting Mubarak on Wednesday Abbas said that, “Hamas has to end its coup in Gaza, accept all international obligations, and accept holding early elections. After that, our hearts are open for any dialogue.

In turn, Al-Zahar responded, “The reality is that there is a legitimate government. We will not give up our legitimacy to anybody.

“Fatah cannot rule Palestine alone and nor can Hamas. Nobody owns the total legitimacy, Ramattan s Ali said. “It is the Palestinian people who are suffering from all this.

The situation at the border, the breach of which is the cause of this latest dispute, has calmed somewhat, with the number of Palestinians crossing into Egypt decreased sharply as Egypt prevented supply trucks from entering the area to cater to them.

However, Egyptian guards at the breached border shot an African man and woman on Wednesday as they attempted to enter Gaza. A group of eight Africans were fired on in Rafah as they attempted to cross through the other side.

On Thursday, a blast was heard at Al-Oja crossing point but was determined to have been the sound of gunfire that had come from within either the Gazan or Israeli side of the border.

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