Erekat: Abbas invited by Egypt to sign reconciliation deal in Cairoon Oct. 25

13:19, October 10, 2009      

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Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced on Friday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received an official Egyptian invitation to sign a reconciliation deal in Cairo on Oct. 25.

Erekat told reporters in Ramallah following a meeting between Abbas and U.S. peace envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell that President Abbas accepted the invitation and welcomed it.

Mitchell arrived in Israel on Wednesday night, where he held talks with Israeli defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday and with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and President Abbas on Friday.

Mitchell's visit aimed at bridging the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians over resuming the stalled peace talks for finding a compromise on halting Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank.

There have been earlier doubts that a reconciliation deal would be signed due to internal controversy over a Palestinian request to postpone a voting on a U.N. fact-finding report that accuses Israel for committing war crimes in Gaza.

These doubts emerged on the surface after several Hamas leaders announced that Hamas has officially demanded from Egypt to postpone the signing deal ceremony until the controversy on the UN report will be over.

However, Hamas movement spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri had said earlier on Friday that his movement hasn't made its final decision yet, "but we are still studying the situation."

Also on Friday, deposed premier of Hamas Ismail Haneya had called on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to carry out certain measures that help to create a better atmosphere for reconciliation.

A senior Hamas delegation headed by Musa Abu Marzooq, the deputy politburo chief of Hamas arrived in Cairo on Friday to hold talks with Egypt on setting up another date for signing of the reconciliation agreement.

Source: Xinhua
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