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Official: Cairo will invite factions for reconciliation talks

Nov. 24, 2012 8:14 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 28, 2012 2:13 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Egypt will invite Palestinian factions to Cairo to resume reconciliation talks after Palestine's bid for a UN status upgrade this week, a political official said Saturday.

Khalil Assaf, who heads the coalition of independents in the West Bank and also chairs the public freedoms committee established under the reconciliation deal, said he expects Egypt's invitation in the coming days.

All Palestinian leaders will then convene in Cairo to discuss their next steps after President Mahmoud Abbas returns from the UN bid, due for a vote at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Assaf said.

All the principles of reconciliation have been agreed and now the leaders need to get on with implementing them, he told Ma'an.

An Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas has repeatedly stalled, after the parties violently split Palestine into separate governments in 2007.

Assaf blamed the failure of the agreement on a lack of political will.

But he noted that circumstances had now changed. Israel's eight-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip united Palestinians, and Palestinians are now calling for unity in their political factions in rallies in the West Bank and Gaza, he said.
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