February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

A high-ranking official of Palestinian Fatah movement Thursday in Egypt urged Hamas to sign the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation file before the yearly Arab summit next month.

Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah central committee, made the remarks in a statement carried by the state-run MENA news agency.

"The movement (Fatah) will not hold any discussions with Hamas unless Hamas accepts an Egyptian-sponsored paper on inter- Palestinian reconciliation," Shaath said in the statement.

Moreover, Shaath urged Hamas to sign the Egyptian reconciliation paper before the 22nd Arab summit, which will be held in Libya in late March. So far, Hamas has balked at any deadline of the moribund reconciliation.

Earlier in the day, Shaath met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Soleiman, Egypt's point man of Mideast peace negotiations and inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks.

The meetings with Egyptian officials were "important," said Shaath, who briefed them on the results of his latest visit to Gaza.

Last week, Shaath paid a three-day visit to Gaza during which he talked with Hamas leaders about allaying tensions between the two sides to enable Egypt to resume its mediation.

The talks between Hamas leaders and Shaath were the first since Egypt halted its mediation efforts in October last year.

In October, Hamas refused to sign an Egyptian-drafted proposal aimed to restore political unity in the Palestinian territories. Since then, Egypt has suspended its efforts to broker the reconciliation talks between the two sides.


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