Hamas, Cairo to restart dialogue on Palestinian reconciliation

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, on Tuesday, said Hamas was about to restart dialogue with Cairo on the inter-Palestinian reconciliation deal. Egypt, which is mediating the talks between Hamas and Fatah, had indefinitely postponed the signing of the reconciliation agreement after Hamas refused to sign it on 15 October 2009.

Under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian Government had refused to discuss Hamas’s reservations and insisted Hamas sign the agreement with the pledge it would take its comments into account during the enforcement of the agreement, a suggestion rejected by Hamas.

In a press statement following his meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi, al-Zahar said that the reconciliation deal was one of the topics they would be discussing and that “it will be improved."

He went on to say: "We will insist that the issues that were removed and those that had been adjusted [in the deal] without prior agreement be brought back so that the deal is complete.”

In related news, al-Arabi said earlier on Tuesday that the Egyptian government does not consider Iran a hostile or enemy country.

Iran is one of the main supporters of Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had accused Tehran of preventing Hamas from accepting the deal.

“There is an internal agreement within Hamas on the steps we'll take in order to achieve reconciliation with Fatah," said al-Zahar.

"We view this visit positively; we raised a lot of issues, including the Palestinians trapped in Libya, Palestinian detainees in Egyptian prisons, the issue of border crossings and the reconciliation agreement, as well as the issue of  Palestinian humanitarian needs.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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