Ma'an News Agency (Analysis)
October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yasser Othman said Sunday that reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is a top priority for the Egyptian leadership.

President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Egypt on Friday to discuss implementation of the deal reached on May 4 and brokered by Egypt, but which has yet to be carried out.

The Egyptian leadership is willing to focus its efforts on carrying out the reconciliation deal, Othman said, noting that the leadership places great importance on its implementation.

In addition to the issue of political unity, President Abbas was in Egypt to discuss the latest developments on the UN bid, including how to garner more Arab support for the move, Othman told Ma'an.

The president also discussed recent Quartet statements and the possibility of returning to the negotiating table, Othman said, noting that Egypt supports the Palestinian position, which demands an end to settlement activity and a clear framework for negotiations, especially related to borders.

President Abbas expressed strong support for the recent prisoner deal carried out between Israel and Hamas, and supports Egyptian efforts to secure the second phase of the exchange, Othman added.

Following the first stage of releasing 477 prisoners on Tuesday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal called on Abbas to meet him in Cairo to implement the May agreement.

Hamas official Izzat ar-Rishiq told journalists on Saturday that President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mashaal will meet in Cairo next month to discuss the reconciliation deal.

Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad met in Cairo with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal last week. He said the meeting was "positive" and that reconciliation talks would restart "soon."

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip after ousting forces loyal to Abbas' Fatah party in 2007.

The reconciliation agreement set out a path for the creation of a transitional government of technocrats and an end to years of bitter animosity, but it has yet to be fully implemented.


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