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No alternative to Egypt plan for Palestinian unity: FM - Daily News Egypt

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No alternative to Egypt plan for Palestinian unity: FM

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: An Egyptian plan to reconcile rival Palestinian factions must remain the basis for unity talks, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday. His comments came a day after negotiations between Fatah, Hamas and other Palestinian factions, which were due to take place in Cairo this week, were cancelled after Hamas announced a …


SHARM EL-SHEIKH: An Egyptian plan to reconcile rival Palestinian factions must remain the basis for unity talks, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday.

His comments came a day after negotiations between Fatah, Hamas and other Palestinian factions, which were due to take place in Cairo this week, were cancelled after Hamas announced a boycott.

The ongoing feud is complicating efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, with the international community negotiating only with the Palestinian Authority of president Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the secular Fatah.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since the Islamist movement violently seized control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Abbas in June last year, splitting the Palestinian territories into two separately-ruled entities.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist outfit by Israel and the West, said its reservations about the Egyptian plan had not been accepted and complained that Fatah was detaining its members in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Cairo, which has long been mediating between the rival factions, has proposed a transitional government to pave the way for elections and reforms to Palestinian security services overseen by Arab security experts.

There can be no abandoning the Egyptian paper, Aboul Gheit told reporters after a meeting of the Middle East peace Quartet in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Egypt exerted efforts. It made a proposal and presented it to the factions for discussion. It was apparent in the last few days there was no political will yet, he said.

Abbas told journalists in Sharm that the cancellation of the talks was regretful.

I ask Egypt to continue its efforts, which would lead to a transitional government, he said.

Senior Abbas adviser Nabil Shaath said Fatah would continue relying on Egypt as a mediator for Palestinian reconciliation.

Of course we are optimistic because Egypt has taken on the role of overseeing the inter-Palestinian dialogue, Egypt s state-run news agency MENA quoted him as saying.

Hamas said on its website that four Palestinian groups had accused Egypt of favoring Fatah. -AFP

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