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Rival Palestinian Leaders Discuss Reconciliation In Cairo

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has met with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Cairo to discuss reconciliation efforts between his secular Fatah party and the Islamist movement.

There has been a deep rift between the two Palestinian factions since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007, leaving Abbas in control of only the West Bank.

In May, the leaders agreed in principle to a unity deal, but the deal stalled over disagreements about who should serve as prime minister of an interim government until elections are held.

Abbas has the backing of the international community, while Hamas, which won the last Palestinian elections in 2006, is the subject of a Western diplomatic boycott over its refusal to renounce violence, honor past Israeli-Palestinian agreements, and recognize the Jewish state's right to exist.

Speaking after the talks, Abbas and Mashal said they had opened a "new page" in relations but provided no details.

compiled from agency reports