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Fatah, Hamas begin Cairo talks ahead of Palestinian elections

Key Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas open talks in Cairo aimed at clearing the way for the first elections in the West Bank and Gaza since 2006, Egypt’s state television says.

“The national dialogue sessions are underway in Cairo under the auspices of (Egyptian) President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi,” it reports.

Before his departure to Cairo, Fatah’s delegation head Jibril Rajoub was upbeat, telling AFP: “We are confident we will overcome any obstacles in going ahead with legislative elections slated for May 22.”

Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, hosts by video conference a meeting with deputy Hamas chief Saleh Arouri (on screen from Beirut) discussing Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank, on July 2, 2020. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

On the agenda are thorny issues such as judicial and security arrangements for the vote and the fate of Palestinian voters in East Jerusalem.

The polls will be the first Palestinian parliamentary elections in 15 years.

The terror group Hamas won an unexpected landslide in the last vote, a victory not recognized by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah, leading to bloody clashes the following year and a split in Palestinian governance.

Fourteen Palestinian political groups are taking part in the sessions sponsored by Egypt, as it seeks to leverage its regional clout.

The talks come on the same day as an emergency Arab League meeting, also held in Cairo, to discuss the Palestinian cause.

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