Various Palestinian groups, including rival Fatah and Hamas movements, resumed their meetings on Tuesday to continue an inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue started late February under the sponsorship of Egypt.
The five Palestinian committees, agreed to set up during the February meetings, would work on different issues related to the Palestinian reconciliation in the following 10 days.
Giving a speech at the Tuesday opening session of the meetings, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman called on the Palestinian factions to shoulder their responsibility and close Palestinian ranks.
The Palestinian factions should reach an agreement as soon as possible to overcome their differences and achieve possible targets as Arab and international environment is favorable, said Suleiman.
"Now the opportunity (to render the dialogue a success) is available," said the Egyptian official in charge of mediation talks related to the Palestinian issue.
Among the pending issues to reach an inter-Palestinian reconciliation, there is an urgent need for the Palestinian factions to agree on forming a national unity government, said Suleiman.
He warned of the consequences of failing to reach an agreement, while voiced his hope that the five committees would overcome all differences.
"We have a precious chance that may not come again," said Suleiman, adding "let us forget the past and build the future!"
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit also attended the opening session of the Palestinian committees.
Moussa called on the Palestinian groups to reach an agreement to put an end to their feud, stressing that the prolonged Palestinian rift should come to an end
Abul Gheit, for his part, reiterated Egypt's support to the inter-Palestinian national unity and the reconstruction of the Palestinian territory of Gaza Strip.
"Egypt will remain a strong supporter to the Palestinians," Abul Gheit said at the meeting, voicing his hope that the dialogue would be held successfully.
A serious and comprehensive dialogue is the only way to close ranks of the Palestinians, he said.
On Feb. 26, a long-awaited Palestinian national unity dialogue opened in Cairo, during which the Palestinian groups agreed to set up the five committees to work for reconciliation.
The five committees are tasked to deal with the issues of forming a Palestinian national unity government, reforming the security services, holding elections, reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and pushing forward the reconciliation.
In the following 10 days, the Palestinian committees will discuss the five major issues to pave the way for forming a new Palestinian unity government that would receive broader recognition of the international community.
On Saturday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that he has submitted his resignation letter to President Mahmoud Abbas to pave the way for forming a new national unity government.
Fayyad was appointed by Abbas as prime minister in June 2007 following Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip. Hamas controls Gaza with the sacked Hamas-led unity administration that does not recognize Fayyad's cabinet.
Although there exists difficulties on the way of reconciliation, Palestinian factions expressed their optimism ahead of the new round of talks.
A Hamas official on Tuesday said Palestinian factions are determined to broker a reconciliation deal that leads to the formation of a unity government.
"The factions will not leave Egypt before reaching the national reconciliation," said Mushier al-Massri, a Hamas lawmaker based in Gaza.
On Monday, a member of the Fatah delegation and senior Fatah leader Zakaria al-Aga also said the atmosphere of talks is much better than before.
"Whatever the atmosphere is, we must have talks," al-Aga told Xinhua. "I hope and believe that we (Palestinian groups) came to Cairo and will not return without an agreement."
(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2009)