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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Details emerge regarding the Fatah-Hamas talks, to be held in Mecca next week

Details emerge regarding the Fatah-Hamas talks, to be held in Mecca next
Date: 30 / 01 / 2007  Time:  11:48

Bethlehem - Ma'an - More details regarding Saudi Arabia's proposed peace talks between the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have been revealed in Arabic newspapers produced in London .

Former Palestinian prime minister Ahmad Qurei'a will head a Fatah delegation and Hamas politburo head, Khalid Mash'al, will head a Hamas delegation, according to the papers. President Abbas is also expected to attend.

The dialogue is expected to commence next week on Monday 5 January in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, under the patronage of the Saudi royal family.

Palestinian sources told the London-based daily, 'Al Quds Al Arabi', that the Hamas delegation to Mecca will be headed by the Hamas politburo head, Khalid Mash'al, and will include the prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, in
addition to Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, the government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, and the first deputy speaker, Ahmad Bahar.

The paper added that the source informed that 5 February is the expected date for the beginning of the dialogue between the two movements. It also reported that leaders of all factions will be participating in the dialogue,
in addition to the Saudi national security advisor, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, and the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, in addition to many Arab officials.

According to the paper, Riyadh is seeking to end the internal fighting between Palestinians and form a unity government which will be acceptable internally and in the international community. Riyadh also hopes to be able
to convince the Hamas leaders of the Saudi initiative.

The Saudi initiative, launched at the Arab summit in 2002, calls for the Arab states to normalise relations with Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem to the borders of 1967.

The paper added that Saudi Arabia intends to pay one billion US dollars to the Palestinians in an attempt to ease the Palestinians' economic crisis.

Another London-based, Arabic-language daily, ' Al Hayat', reported that the meeting, which was called by the Saudi king, will commence with a meeting between high-ranking Hamas and Fatah leaders in order to reach an agreement regarding the unity government.

The paper said that, according to a Saudi source, these meetings will conclude with a meeting between Abbas and leaders of Hamas and other factions. However, 'Al-Hayat' said that these meetings will not take place unless the fighting is stopped.

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