GAZA – The first round of dialogue for the Palestinian reconciliation process between leaders of Islamic movement Hamas and the nationalist party Fatah – led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – started in Cairo on a positive note, both delegations said late on Tuesday.
Both sides said in a joint statement that the first session of the Palestinian national dialogue was held with the objective of ending internal division and achieving unity.
After 10 hours of conversations in the first round, held at the Intelligence Directorate of Egypt, the delegations said that the dialogue took place in a positive environment.
The statement added that the dialogue had the complete support of Egypt and there were in-depth discussions on how to improve the suffering and difficult living conditions of the people of Gaza.
Leaders of both Palestinian factions reached Cairo on Monday night to start an extended dialogue in order to initiate a mechanism for implementing the reconciliation agreements reached in the last few years.
The latest reconciliation efforts, mediated by Egypt, started in September when Hamas announced the dissolution of its administrative committee governing the Gaza strip.
Last week, control of many of the ministries in Gaza, governed by Hamas, was handed over to the Palestinian National Authority government operating from the West Bank, whose leaders visited the coastal strip for the first time in three years.
The current round of negotiations will end on Thursday, to be followed with a press conference by the leaders of both groups to discuss the agreements reached, a source close to the negotiations said.
Once the first round is finished, the delegations will return to the Palestinian territories until Egypt extends the invitation of dialogue to the rest of the Palestinian factions and political powers.
Saleh al-Arouri, heading the Hamas delegation in Cairo, told the group’s chief, Ismail Haniyeh, by telephone that the dialogue has been very positive, according to a statement by his office.