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  Saturday, May 30, 2020
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Hamas confirmed on Saturday it had refused to meet with Fatah
Hamas confirmed on Saturday it had refused to meet with Fatah representatives due to unresolved questions surrounding political prisoners, forcing the cancellation of Egyptian-sponsored Palestinian reconciliation talks next week.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of failing to release Hamas representatives detained in the West Bank.

"Dialogue is not meaningful without resolving the question of all our people arrested in the West Bank. It is necessary to release them first and only then to speak about the participation of Hamas in talks," Barhoum said.

Despite the cancellation of the Cairo meeting, which was to involve 13 Palestinian factions on Monday, Egypt said on Saturday it would continue efforts to bring the Palestinian groups together.

"Egypt will continue discussions with all parties to set a new date for inter-Palestinian talks," an Egyptian representative was quoted as saying by MENA news agency.

Egyptian authorities proposed in mid-October bringing Palestinian groups together in Cairo to discuss a political settlement. Under the Egyptian plan, a single Palestinian government would be formed, presidential and parliamentary elections held, and the Palestinians' security services reformed.

Both the ruling Fatah group and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, supported the initiative, although Hamas had concerns about some of the proposals, including extending Abbas's term as president, being excluded from international Middle East peace talks.


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