August 19, 2008 / 5:13 PM / 10 years ago

Palestinian groups due in Egypt for talks next week

CAIRO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Egypt has invited Palestinian groups to Egypt next week for talks on Palestinian reconciliation, the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Tuesday.

The agency quoted an unnamed official as saying Egypt would hold talks with each organisation individually and would then organise wider discussions with all the groups simultaneously.

The Palestinian delegations are expected to begin arriving on Monday, MENA said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas renewed calls for dialogue with Islamist rivals Hamas in late July and said that Egypt would call representatives of Palestinian groups for dialogue sessions in Cairo.

Mistrust and disputes over conditions and terms had buried several calls for a dialogue in the past year.

Hamas has always rejected Abbas’s demand that it relinquish control of Gaza, which it seized last year after routing the Western-backed Palestinian leader’s security forces following a brief armed conflict that killed dozens of people.

Abbas, whose Fatah faction lost Palestinian legislative elections to Hamas in 2006, still holds sway in the West Bank, bolstered with funds from the United States and other donors. (Writing by Aziz El-Kaissouni)

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