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Abbas, Meshaal Meet on Stabilizing Truce, Lifting Siege
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Friday evening met in Cairo with the exiled head of Hamas's political bureau Khaled Meshaal to probe means of stabilizing the truce and lifting siege imposed on the Palestinians.

Top on the agenda of the talks between Abbas and Meshaal were the domestic situation including stabilizing the truce, prisoners exchange deal with Israel and lifting siege; the political partnership between Fatah and Hamas launched by the Mecca agreement; and means of reactivating the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Egyptian MENA news agency quoted a well-informed Palestinian official as saying.

During the meeting, Abbas and Meshaal reiterated their commitment to the Mecca agreement, exerting every possible effort to stabilize the current truce and extending it to the West Bank as well as working with Arab and Islamic countries to lift the siege, which was imposed by the West on the previous Hamas-led government since it took office in March 2006 for its refusal to recognize Israel and past Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

This is the first meeting between Abbas and Meshaal, who arrived here late Friday and Thursday night respectively, since a Palestinian unity government took office on March 17 after a power-sharing agreement was reached in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 8.

The meeting came as Palestinian-Israeli tensions escalated after Israel launched military operations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Hamas fired a barrage of rockets earlier in the week and declared a five-month cease-fire over.

Having wrapped up a European tour to persuade Europe to resume aid and dealings with the Palestinian government, Abbas is paying a two-day visit to Egypt.

Abbas is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday Morning to discuss the latest developments in the Palestinian territories, the outcomes of his European tour and the recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as well as efforts to halt Israeli aggressions and reviving peace process in the Middle East.

(Xinhua News Agency April 28, 2007)

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