Hamas and Fatah to sign unity deal, says Egypt's foreign minister

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah are to sign a reconciliation deal in Cairo on October 26, Egypt's roreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, announced after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.


AFP - Rival Palestinian factions are to sign a reconciliation deal in Cairo on October 26, Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Monday after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in Amman.

"We agreed to hold a meeting for Palestinian factions in Cairo on October 25 before signing a reconciliation agreement on October 26," he told a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh.

The announcement came shortly after Abul Geit and Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman held talks with Abbas, who heads the mainstream Fatah faction.

According to extracts of proposals obtained by AFP, the plan calls for both presidential and parliamentary elections to be held across the Palestinian territories in the middle of 2010.

It also calls for bolstering the Fatah-dominated security forces under Egyptian supervision and the release of prisoners in both the Fatah-run West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Egypt has twice postponed the scheduled date for the signing of a reconciliation agreement because of continuing disagreements between the two main Palestinian factions.

Earlier, Abul Geit and Suleiman, who is Cairo's pointman on efforts to unite the rival factions, met with Jordan's King Abdullah II, who said Palestinian reconciliation was a "key necessity" to establishing an independent state.

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