Fatah, Hamas Meet in Cairo, Again

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CAIRO, Egypt - Delegations from Fatah and Hamas were back in Cairo on Monday to continue negotiations aimed at reconciling the two rival Palestinian factions.

Topping Monday's agenda was the formation of a joint Hamas-Fatah security force in the Gaza Strip, marking the first time for such discussion since the June 2007 military coup by Hamas.

Following the coup, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the then three-month-old Fatah-Hamas unity government, formed an emergency government and appointed Salam Fayyad to replace Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh as prime minister.

Egyptian Security Forces Would Oversee The Plan

If Monday's talks produce an agreement, it would signal a breakthrough in months of stalemated talks between the two factions.

According to senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath, Egyptian security forces would oversee the plan, should it be implemented, Egypt's MENA news agency reported.

In related news, Egypt announced plans to reopen the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip if Fatah and Hamas form a unity government, according to senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed.

"Egyptian General Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman informed us during a meeting with Hamas and Fatah representatives in Cairo last night that Egypt would begin real measures on the ground after the signing of the agreement to reopen the Rafah border crossing," al-Ahmed told the press.

Egypt has kept the crossing closed, for the most part, since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

The next round of Egyptian-mediated negotiations between Fatah and Hamas has been scheduled for the first week in July.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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