Rival Palestinian factions held a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday aimed at forming a national unity government and resolving major disputes between Hamas and Fatah. Senior officials from Hamas and Fatah and smaller factions were due to start work in five reconciliation committees which they agreed to form last month in the Egyptian capital.
Omar Suleiman, Egypt's intelligence chief who has been mediating between the factions, launched the meeting with an address calling on the factions to work hard toward a reconciliation, the Egyptian state-news agency MENA reported.
"On the issue of the government and its programme we are not too far off," senior Fatah negotiator Nabil Shaath, the faction's representative in the committee tasked with forming a government, told AFP. "What will be the difficult questions are the tasks the government would have and one is the security issue," he stated.