Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Palestinians meet in Cairo amid rift clouding Gaza truce chances


(Reuters) - Palestinian factions met in Cairo on Wednesday for two days of talks aimed at mending a rift that could threaten Egyptian-mediated negotiations to turn the Gaza ceasefire into a lasting truce.

The split between the Islamist movement Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction relates to several key issues including control of Gaza. The disagreement could undermine any broader deal with Israel.

The ceasefire struck last month between Israel and the Palestinians to end the Gaza war including stipulations that the Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas, should take over civil administration in Gaza from Hamas.

But a dispute over the Palestinian Authority's non-payment of salaries to Gaza's public sector workers has brought tensions between the two main Palestinian factions to near-braking point, raising the risk of a return to conflict.

Sakher Bseiso, a Fatah central committee member taking part in the talks, told Reuters Fatah and Hamas would discuss issues including security, elections and governance of the Gaza Strip.

"The Cairo talks will discuss enabling the unity government to undertake its role in Gaza Strip and (conduct) bilateral relations between the two movements," he said. more

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