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Abbas, Tantawi meet in Cairo

Nov. 23, 2011 8:25 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 24, 2011 4:50 A.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas met on Wednesday with Egypt's head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, field marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, in Cairo.

The meeting at the ministry of defense in Cairo included discussions on Israel's settlement-building and recent communications from the Quartet and US about the peace process, the Palestinian Authority news agency reported.

The meeting also focused on reconciliation efforts and its implementation phase with Egyptian supervision, Wafa reported. Abbas thanked Egypt for its efforts in supporting the Palestinian people.

A delegation from Hamas, meanwhile, arrived in the Egyptian capital in preparation for the meetings with President Abbas in a bid to implement the reconciliation deal, which was signed in May.

Egypt has been shaken in recent days by renewed protests calling for the ruling military council to step aside and allow an interim civilian government to take power.

But officials of the rival parties said the unrest would not derail a planned meeting between Mashaal and Abbas later this week.

The talks will go ahead "as scheduled on Thursday," Hamas official Ismail Radwan said, in remarks which were confirmed by senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad.

The two leaders are due to finalize details of a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas which was signed in May but has yet to be implemented.

The deal called for the immediate formation of an interim government to pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections within a year.

But implementation of the agreement has stalled, with the two sides failing to agree on the make-up of the caretaker government and, in particular, who will head it.

The Hamas delegation includes Khalid Mashaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, and Mousa Abu Marzouq, Muhammad Naser, Izzat al-Rishq, Khalil al-Hayya, and Nizar Awad.

Radwan told Ma'an that “we hope the meeting will be fruitful,” and added that the Islamist movement expected to agree with Fatah on establishing a joint authority in the occupied territories.

He also expressed hopes that they would adopt a single national strategy.
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