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Fatah, Hamas meet in Cairo over Gaza administration

Fatah, Hamas meet in Cairo over Gaza administration”

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas began detailed negotiations behind closed doors in Cairo today on ending their crippling decade-long split, a delegate said.

The Islamist group Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the mainstream Fatah party in 2007.

- The main aim of the talks is "empowering the government in Gaza". Also heading the Fatah contingent is Majed Faraj, Palestinian intelligence chief and a close ally of Abbas. But the sides still need to resolve differences over sensitive issues, including the fate of thousands of Hamas government employees and control over Hamas' vast weapons arsenal.

He said the government would work to complete arrangements in a week or two for the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings.

Cairo is now leading efforts to heal a decade-long political split between Gaza-based Hamas group and the West Bank-based Fatah movement.

The plan for 3,000 Fatah security officers to join a Gaza police force over the course of a year, part of a unity deal mediated by Egypt in 2011, would restore much of the influence of Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza and further loosen Hamas' grip. "It expresses readiness to assume full duties in Gaza Strip as soon at the factions have clinched an agreement".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the Palestinians against "bogus reconciliations", reiterating Israel's demand for the disbandment of Hamas's military faction.

Tuesday's meeting is expected to discuss a number of controversial issues, the most hard of which would be the security authority in the Gaza Strip and borders.

"The issue of arms of resistance is not up for discussion", Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.

Hamas's capture of Gaza in 2007 ended an earlier - if short-lived - unity government that was established after Hamas swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.



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