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Hamas political leader says progress made in talks with Fatah

From the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Palestinian factions hold reconciliation talks
  • Meshaal tells CNN more talks planned on unresolved issues
  • Egypt mediated to create a blueprint for the talks

Damascus, Syria (CNN) -- Representatives of the two main Palestinian factions - the Islamist group Hamas and the Fatah party led by President Mahmoud Abbas - met on Friday into the early hours of Saturday and agreed on several disputed points in a reconciliation document mediated by Egypt, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal told CNN.

"We think [the meeting] will bridge the understanding with Fatah and push for reconciliation," Meshaal said Saturday in an interview with CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson.

The renewal of unity talks between the rival factions comes as Fatah officials continue peace talks with Israel, which were re-launched on September 2 at the invitation of the United States.

According to a Hamas-Fatah joint statement posted by Palestinian news agencies after the meeting, the factions agreed to continue talks in the near future on remaining unresolved issues.

"Disputed items in the Egyptian reconciliation document were reviewed and agreement was reached on many of these points," the joint statement said. "There will be another meeting soon to discuss and agree on the rest of disputed items in order to reach a final draft to be approved by all Palestinian factions."

Meshaal said the meeting, which took place in Damascus, Syria, was held after he met with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Suleiman has been a key figure in trying to bring Fatah and Hamas together to create a Palestinian unity government.

Meshaal led the Hamas team in the Damascus talks, while Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah's top governing body, led the Fatah delegation.

Representatives of the rival factions discussed contentious issues, including preparations for elections and who will be in charge of security forces in a unity government, Meshaal said.

"If we internally agree together about those issues, we will pave the road to reconciliations," Meshaal added. The goal is to hold "transparent elections," he said.

Fatah signed an Egyptian-mediated unity document in October 2009. However, Hamas officials said there were issues in the document that they felt did not address concerns of their party.

 
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