The Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have begun the reconciliation process at a meeting during which most of their differences, including the issue of power sharing, were resolved.
Delegations headed by Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal and senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed held a meeting in Meshaal’s office in Damascus on Saturday, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The two sides reached an understanding on "the majority of points of difference," they said in a statement issued after the meeting.
Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, but since a major dispute with Fatah in 2007, it only rules in the Gaza Strip.
The two factions also agreed to continue talks with the aim of signing a reconciliation agreement in Egypt, which has been mediating talks between them since last year.
An earlier fence-mending proposal by Cairo, which called for Palestinian elections in the first half of 2010 and assigned responsibility for the security forces to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), was accepted by Fatah, AP added.
However, Hamas rejected the proposal because it did not include the right of the Palestinians to "resist Israeli occupation."