Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, of the rival Fatah faction, may engage in reconciliation talks in Egypt on Wednesday, according to reports in the Arab press.
Mashaal was set to arrive in Cairo late Tuesday, while Abbas is scheduled to arrive in the Egyptian capital on the following day. Although no official sit-down has been scheduled, a senior Hamas official said a meeting between the two may be in the offing.
“Mashaal and the Hamas delegation will try to arrange [Tuesday] tonight with Egyptian officials for a possible meeting tomorrow” between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Abbas and Mashaal “to look into means of achieving Palestinian reconciliation,” Mashaal’s deputy, Moussa Abu Marzouk, wrote on his Facebook page in comments translated by Ahram online.
The two were expected, separately, to meet with Morsi — Mashaal on Tuesday evening and Abbas on Wednesday.
Abbas’s Fatah administers Palestinian Authority-ruled areas of the West Bank. Mashaal’s Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood party, has ruled the Gaza Strip since it violently overthrew Fatah in a 2007 coup.
The two Palestinian factions have been at odds since 2006, when Hamas won the PA parliamentary elections. The rift was worsened in 2007 due to the Gaza Strip takeover. Various attempts at reconciliation have failed over the years, despite several reports that an agreement was imminent.