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Mahmoud Abbas in Egypt 'to discuss Hamas-Fatah reconciliation'

Abbas and President el-Sisi expected to hold talks on the Palestinian reconciliation process and the situation in Gaza.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is due to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Sharm el-Sheikh where they are expected to discuss Palestinian reconciliation and the situation in Gaza.

Abbas had arrived in the Red Sea resort city on Friday to participate in the World Youth Forum at the invitation of el-Sisi. The forum, running for the second year, is a four-day event beginning from November 3 and will focus on themes of peace, development and creativity.

According to a statement posted on the embassy's Facebook profile on the same day, the Palestinian Ambassador to Cairo, Diab al-Louh, said the meeting will discuss the latest Palestinian political developments, as well as issues of mutual interest.

He also stressed the long and deep cooperation between the two leaders.

Egypt has recently been involved in efforts to revive the reconciliation process that was signed last October between the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah.

However, the deal has been stalled for months over a deadlock that has shown no sign of progress for the 11-year political division.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) wants complete control over the Gaza Strip, including its security, which means the disarmament of Hamas' armed wing the al-Qassam Brigades - a point that the Hamas movement has made clear it will not concede on.

On Thursday, The Jerusalem Post reported that Egypt has put forward a three-year agreement to bring the Hamas and Fatah reconciliation into fruition over two phases.

The first includes the PA taking over civil services and government ministries in Gaza, which are currently under the control of Hamas. The second phase would see the PA in control of the police and border crossings in the coastal strip. If this succeeds after three years, the Qassam Brigades would be placed under PA control as well.

Elections would also be drawn held for a new Palestinian government.

According to Ramallah-based political analyst Khalil Shaheen, Egypt eyes the Gaza Strip's dependency on it as crucial, by holding the keys to the southern border and safeguarding Israel's interests.

"Egypt backs the return of the PA to the Gaza Strip in a way that will envelop Hamas into its fold but prevent it from having a political decision-making role," Shaheen previously said.


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