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Egypt: Unity efforts intensifying

April 24, 2011 8:41 P.M. (Updated: April 25, 2011 9:50 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Egypt is committed to its role as mediator for rival Palestinian factions and is ready to sponsor conciliation talks, Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yaser Othman told Ma’an on Sunday.

"Facilitating Palestinian will be a boost to the spirit of Egypt's 25 January revolution," Othman said, refuting reports that Egypt would back away from the role following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

"Egypt will continue to carry out contacts with all parties, and will intensify efforts in the coming stage to convince the parties to move toward an end in division," the official said.

Citing a need for good will between parties, Othman said he was confident that Egypt could bring success to the endeavor.

Under Mubarak, unity talks came close to an agreement in 2009, but fell through when Hamas signaled its lack of confidence in its rival Fatah party over the Palestinian Authority's attempt to quash a UN Human Rights Council vote to adopt the Goldstone Report on the Gaza war.

Hamas refused to sign the Egyptian unity document and demanded changes be made.

Hamas officials have since asked that a governing document be negotiated, which would oversee the implementation of the unity paper.

Amid massive protests across the Middle East demanding change and reform from regional governments, Palestinians organized rallies demanding unity, putting the issue back on the table.

Abbas proposed visiting Gaza, but has yet to set a date for the visit.

Protest tents remain, however, in some West Bank cities, and a coalition of youth organizations remain active in calling for an end to the national division.

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