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Egypt, Hamas agree to take efforts to halt Palestinian infighting

CAIRO, May 31, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Egyptian officials and a Hamas delegation on Thursday reached an agreement to take all measures to halt Palestinian infighting, consolidate Fatah-Hamas ceasefire and reach a mutual truce with Israel, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported.

Meetings between Egyptian officials and the delegation of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) wrapped up here Thursday evening and the talks produced very positive and constructive outcome, a well-placed source was quoted by MENA as saying.

During the meetings which began on Wednesday, Hamas officials appreciated Egyptian efforts to cement the Palestinian unity and help the Palestinian people regain their legitimate rights.

The Hamas delegation consisted of two groups of its members, one from the Syrian capital Damascus, which was led by deputy head of Hamas Political Bureau Moussa Abu Marzouq, and the other from the Gaza Strip, which was led by former Palestinian Interior Minister Said Seyam.

Hamas and its rival party Fatah reached the agreement in Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 8, which led to the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

Following meetings with Fatah and Hamas delegations here, Egyptian officials will also hold talks with other Palestinian factions, including Jihad, the Popular Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which were invited here by the Egyptian government for separate talks to discuss the Palestinian internal situation.

Egypt aimed to use these meetings to "close the Palestinian ranks, halt infighting and reach a ceasefire with Israel," said MENA.

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat also arrived here on Thursday on a several days' visit to Egypt for talks on the developments of the Palestinian issue, according to MENA.

Egypt, a leading Arab nation, maintains close relations with various Palestinian factions and has long played a mediating role among these factions.