Hamas delegation arrives in Egypt for Palestinian reconciliation talks 6Aug11 August 7, 2011

Haaretz -  6 August 2011

A delegation from the radical Islamist Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip arrived in Egypt on Saturday ahead of talks with the rival Palestinian group Fatah that is dominant on the West Bank.

A meeting to implement a reconciliation agreement brokered by Egypt in early May is expected to be held on Sunday.

The Hamas delegation, led by Mussa Abu Marouq, the vice politburo chief, arrived in Cairo from Damascus.

This is first meeting since mid-June, due to disputes between the two groups over the formation of a unity government.

Under the reconciliation deal, the Islamist Hamas and the secular Fatah will set up an interim government of technocrats.

Fatah wanted Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to head the new government, but Hamas rejected the nomination.

The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation pact ended a four-year bitter, and at times violent, rift between the two largest Palestinians factions.

Tensions between the two were high after Hamas defeated Fatah in the 2006 elections, but the animosity peaked in June 2007, when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip after throwing out security officials loyal to Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.

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