Hamas and Fatah delegations meet in Cairo as part of reconciliation bid

Palestinian negotiators of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, which controls the West Bank, and the Islamist Hamas organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, held their first meeting in Cairo today, aimed at discussing reconciliation between the rival Palestinian movements. Palestinian officials told TV7 that the meetings, which are scheduled to last three consecutive days under the auspices of Egypt, will focus on a variety of issues related to resolving the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, including procedures and mechanisms for implementing a unity deal that will see power returned to the Palestinian Authority under President Abbas in the Gaza Strip. The officials explained to TV7 that the negotiating teams will advance the reconciliation efforts in accordance with the Cairo Agreement of 2011, which at the time aimed at ending hostilities between Fatah and Hamas, and sought to form a Palestinian unity government that would act as an interim Authority until elections would be held for the Palestinian presidency and other legislative councils.  As such, the Islamist Hamas organization will be forced to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian unity government, which is headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, to act as the administrative Authority across all Palestinian territories. The officials noted that the meetings in Cairo will be classified as confidential and the information will not be disclosed or leaked to the media before the end of all meetings.