Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)
March 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Representatives of rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah returned to Cairo on Tuesday to resume talks on forming a "national unity" government, representatives of the groups said.

Egyptian-mediated talks between Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, which controls the West Bank, were scheduled to resume on Tuesday, ahead of a broader meeting including more factions on Wednesday.

"The talks will focus on the issues that were not solved in the last round of talks," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Tuesday.

Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions left Cairo on March 19 having agreed to hold elections in January 2010, but without agreement on the conduct of those elections, the platform of the interim government that would govern in the meantime, or on the composition of security forces.

"Tomorrow, Egyptian officials will meet Hamas and Fatah in preparation for a wider conference that will be held this week and will be attended by all the factions," Fatah representative Azzam al-Ahmad said.

Deposed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya sounded a conciliatory note in an interview published in Gaza's pro-Hamas daily, Filistine. Hamas, he said, was not trying to rule the West Bank and the Gaza Strip alone.

"Hamas wants to put an end to the split and boost partnership in administering the country," Haniya told the daily. "We are working to build a respectful political system."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017