Arab League welcomes inter-Palestinian reconciliation via Cairo-brokered dialogue

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CAIRO, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit welcomed the reconciliation reached among rival Palestinian factions following their two-day dialogue in Egypt's capital Cairo, the pan-Arab body said in a statement on Wednesday.

Aboul-Gheit made the remarks after his meeting with Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of the Central Committee of Fatah at the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo.

"The dialogue achieved the required consensus to pave the way for holding the upcoming (Palestinian) legislative and presidential elections in a positive atmosphere," said the Arab League chief.

On Monday and Tuesday, Cairo hosted a reconciliation dialogue for a dozen of Palestinian factions, including the two main rivals Fatah and Hamas which have a 14-year-long rift.

The internal Palestinian division between ruling Fatah and Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip began in 2007 when Hamas forcibly took over Gaza. Since then, the Palestinian territories have been split into a Hamas-controlled Gaza and a Fatah-dominated West Bank.

The last legislative elections in the Palestinian territories were held in late 2006 when Hamas won a majority.

In a presidential decree issued last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the legislative elections will be held on May 22, the presidential elections on July 31, and the Palestinian National Council elections on Aug. 31.

"Elections represent an important step for renewing the Palestinian legitimacy," Aboul-Gheit noted, calling on the international community to make every effort to ensure the elections will be held in all the occupied Palestinian territories.

He also reaffirmed Arab League's support for the Palestinian cause and the future establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders. Enditem

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