Palestinian talks in Cairo: Arafat calls to declare truce with Israel, Hamas wants to intensify resistance
Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat on Wednesday called on Palestinian groups to reach a ceasefire with Israel, describing the move as a test for the Jewish state's sincerity for peace.
"Arafat made the appeal in a message sent to the groups, which would kick off a new round of talks in Cairo to discuss the possibility of reaching a new truce with Israel," a high-ranking official of the Fatah was quoted as saying.
"It is imperative to focus on the ceasefire, not on anything else which would affect the dialogue," the official, quoted Arafat as saying in the message.
Representatives of most of the total 13 Palestinian groups have arrived in the Egyptian capital, and the rest were expected to come Thursday morning.
Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman will attend the opening ceremony of the talks at noon, the official said. After that, the Palestinian factions will be left alone to discuss the agenda presented to them by the Egyptians.
Delegates in Cairo said late Wednesday there is a preliminary agreement among the different Palestinian political groups to stop the killing of Israeli civilians, thereby implying an end to all attacks inside Israel.
In return, they will ask the Quartet to force Israel to end its military strikes on Palestinians.
The Hamas Movement, responsible of most suicide bombing attacks against Israeli targets, was participating in the Cairo dialogue with a high-level team headed by Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy political bureau chief of the Movement.
Mohammed Nazzal, a political bureau member of Hamas, expressed earlier this week his hope that "the dialogue would succeed in boosting Palestinian national unity and steadfastness of the Palestinian people in resisting occupation."
The Hamas official affirmed that debating a new truce was not among the major items of the dialogue’s agenda. "The Palestinian factions should meet to discuss means of enhancing resistance and defense of the Palestinian people rather than debating a fresh hudna (truce)," he said.
Nazzal further denounced calls for a ceasefire on the part of the Palestinian factions while the "Israeli occupation crimes were escalating every day." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)