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Palestinian factions hold key talks

CAIRO — The Palestinian factions on Tuesday discussed the implementation of a reconciliation deal in Cairo but put off any decisions on the key issues of security and an interim government until next year.

“This meeting has one aim: to put in place mechanisms for ending Palestinian division,” said Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah delegation at the talks, facilitated by Egypt’s intelligence service.

On the agenda were questions on key issues such as forming a caretaker Cabinet, security, parliamentary and presidential elections, and reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

“Today’s meeting will reach agreement over the formation of a Palestinian electoral committee, which will prepare for elections,” Mr. al-Ahmed said.

Izzat al-Rishq, a senior official from the Hamas delegation, said he hoped the parties would make progress on the release of political prisoners held by both sides.

Officials from the rival Fatah and Hamas movements have been holding talks in Cairo since Sunday to discuss implementing a landmark reconciliation deal that was signed in May but has not got off the ground.

On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah will preside over a meeting of the PLO Commission, a body set up in 2005 to examine ways of reforming the organization.

All the faction leaders belong to the PLO Commission, and Thursday’s meeting is to be attended by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Islamic Jihad head Ramadan Shallah.

Neither faction belongs to the PLO, but discussions are under way to restructure the body to let them join.

Both Mr. Meshaal and Mr. Abbas were expected in Cairo on Wednesday, officials said.


Council creates fund for Jordan, Morocco

RIYADH — Persian Gulf states announced Tuesday a $5 billion fund for development plans in Jordan and Morocco, without saying whether either nation would join the alliance of oil-rich monarchies.

The Gulf Cooperation Council has “decided to create a Gulf development fund which begins by providing support to development projects in the Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of Morocco worth $2.5 billion for each,” the GCC said in statement.

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