Fatah and Hamas leaders meet in Turkey ahead of Cairo summit, reports say

Palestinian factions are invited for a further urgent meeting on Sunday in the Egyptian capital in order to restore national unity

epa02705269 (FILE) A file photograph dated 18 March 2007 shows Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh during a government cabinet meeting in Gaza City in the Gaza Strip. After years of dispute, rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement mediated by Egypt in Cairo on 27 April 2011, Fatah officials confirmed. The details of the surprise agreement would be revealed in a press conference in Cairo later on Wednesday, Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, who led his groupÔs delegation in the talks said. The deal creates a timeframe for legislative and presidential elections and calls for the formation of an interim government, pan
Arab network Al Arabiya reported earlier.  EPA/ALI ALI
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Leaders of Hamas and Fatah have met in Turkey ahead of a meeting of Palestinian factions in Cairo on Sunday, according to several reports.

The reported meeting coincided with a visit to Turkey from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniyeh and his deputy Saleh Al Arouri met with Mr Abbas in Ankara on Tuesday, according to sources who spoke to Al Araby Al Jadeed.

Neither Fatah nor Hamas have publicly confirmed that any meeting took place. Inquiries sent by The National to a Hamas official were also not returned by the time of publication.

Speaking after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr Abbas confirmed “efforts are under way to achieve the unity of the Palestinian land and people”.

He said Fatah has sent invitations to the heads of the Palestinian factions for an urgent meeting on Sunday in Cairo “in order to restore national unity and develop a national programme to face the challenges facing the Palestinian people and land”.

Ziyad Al Nakhalah, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, announced that they will boycott the meeting of Palestinian factions scheduled to take place in the Egyptian capital on Sunday.

The leaders of Fatah and Hamas last met publicly in June 2022 in Algeria, the first time in more than five years.

Palestinian politics have been paralysed for more than 15 years since Hamas, a militant group that controls Gaza, and Fatah, fought a factional conflict for control of the Palestinian Authority that led to Mr Abbas' party being driven out of the Gaza Strip. Repeated reunification attempts have failed and Palestinians have not been able to vote for their leadership since 2006.

Mr Erdogan and Mr Abbas held one-on-one talks at the presidential complex in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss relations, the Palestine-Israel issue, and other regional and international developments.

“We cannot tolerate any acts attempting to change the historical status quo of holy places, particularly the Al Aqsa Mosque. The unity and reconciliation of the Palestinians are key elements in this process,” Mr Erdogan said following the meeting.

Benjamin Netanyahu was also expected to visit Turkey this week, but the trip has been postponed after the Israeli Prime Minister had unscheduled surgery over the weekend.

Updated: July 26, 2023, 1:04 PM