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    Fatah, Hamas to sign reconciliation pact on Oct. 26 in Cairo

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    A reconciliation pact between the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas will be signed on October 26 in Cairo.

    CAIRO, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - A reconciliation pact between the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas will be signed on October 26 in Cairo, the Egyptian foreign minister said.

    Earlier Egyptian media reports said that the two rival Palestinian groups would gather in the Egyptian capital on October 20 to hold final talks before signing the document on October 22.

    "We have agreed that the Palestinian groups will gather in Cairo on October 25 in order to sign the reconciliation agreement on October 26 in the presence of foreign guests and observers," Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit said following his meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan.

    Egypt plays the role of mediator between the two factions, which until recently had no direct dialogue.

    In early September Cairo put forward a new document to reconcile the two largest Palestinian factions, which split in June 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and pushed the Fatah movement out of the enclave. The six previous rounds of reconciliation talks resulted in failure.

    The document envisions general elections to be held in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the first half of 2010, a reform of Palestinian security services under the Egyptian control and the release of political prisoners by both factions.

    Armed clashes between Fatah and Hamas came some 18 months after Hamas had won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Fatah has renounced violence, while Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and reserves the right to use violence in its struggle to create a Palestinian state.

    Reconciliation talks resumed after Israel's assault on Gaza at the turn of the year, which saw some 1,300 Palestinians killed and 5,000 injured.

     

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