Abbas in Cairo for first post-Mubarak talks on peace

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CAIRO: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas met Egypt’s de facto head of state on Thursday for talks on Palestinian reconciliation and the Middle East peace process, on his first visit since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak.

Abbas and Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi "reviewed Egypt’s support for the Palestinian cause in light of the circumstances that Egypt is undergoing, as well as the need to pursue dialogue and reconcile points of view to reach a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas," state news agency MENA reported.

They also tackled the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and "the need to make efforts and initiatives to relaunch it."

Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads since 2007 when the Islamist movement took control of the Gaza Strip, routing Abbas loyalists. A process of reconciliation between the two is yet to yield any results.

Egypt has been a long-standing mediator between the two factions as well as between Palestinians and Israelis.

Abbas said the Palestinian Authority hoped Egypt would "overcome the current circumstances and resume its Arab and regional role," MENA said.

Abbas also met Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby and the head of Egyptian intelligence, General Murad Mowafi.

Al-Araby told Abbas Egypt continued "to support the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights."

Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, has been Egypt’s de facto leader since Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11.


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