April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Officials from rivalrous Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Islamic Hamas movement have met in the Gaza Strip this week in a renewed effort to reach reconciliation, a Hamas official said Tuesday.

Ismail Al-Ashqar said representatives from the Hamas and the Fatah had discussed their views on the reconciliation and controversial issues obstructing the restoration of political unity between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where the Fatah-led Palestinian National Authority (PNA) holds sway.

The official refused to reveal the results of the meeting which was held away from the media.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian rivals have been meeting with Egyptian officials to renew Egypt's mediation between them, which was suspended in 2009 when the Hamas refused to sign Cairo's proposal for the Palestinian reconciliation.

On Tuesday, the Hamas, which routed Abbas' forces and ousted the Fatah in 2007, invited Palestinian factions for discussions. Fatah representatives were not seen in the meeting.

Al-Ashqar said the Hamas briefed the factions the movement's views on the reconciliation and the results of a series of recent meetings between the Hamas leaders and Egyptian officials in Cairo.

The Fatah officials declined to comment on Al-Ashqar's statements.

President Abbas is expected to go to Egyptian capital Cairo on Wednesday to discuss his offer for the reconciliation with the Egyptian leaders, Yasser Othman, Egyptian ambassador to the West Bank, told the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam daily.

In March, Abbas said he is ready to visit Gaza and declare with the Hamas the formation of a unity government that would prepare for national elections within six months.

The Hamas wants the reconciliation to follow a comprehensive national dialogue with specific timeline, in which the factions discuss the controversial issues that include elections and restructuring security services in Gaza and the West Bank, according to Al-Ashqar.


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