Egyptian Officials Arrive in West Bank Ahead of Unity Talks

Egypt has sent high-ranking security officials to the West Bank to prepare for what Cairo hopes to be the last session of inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks, sources said on Thursday.

The delegations, headed by intelligence deputy chief general Mohammed Ibrahim, will spend two days in Ramallah to meet representatives of Palestinian factions and chiefs of security services, the sources said.

A separate meeting will also be held here between the delegation and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"The delegation’s visit aims at overcoming obstacles that obstruct the way of the dialogue," Azzam al-Ahmad, an official from Abbas’s Fatah party, told Xinhua.

The politically-motivated arrests Hamas has been conducting against Fatah supporters in Gaza and pro-Abbas forces’ crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank are one of the key obstacles to the dialogue.

The meeting between the Palestinian National Authority’s security chiefs and the Egyptian delegation are meant to discuss the arrests.

It is unknown whether the Egyptian officials are to meet Hamas’ leaders in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has been trying to secure reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah since Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized Gaza in 2007. In February, Cairo has succeeded in launching the first official talks between the two movements.

The upcoming round of Hamas-Fatah talks is due to held on July 25 in Cairo.


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