Egypt’s President Mursi Meets Abbas on Palestinian Union

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi and his Palestinian counterpart met today to discuss reconciliation between Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and Gaza’s Islamist rulers, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

Abbas had arrived earlier in the day and was preceded by Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal, who met Mursi separately, MENA reported. The two groups pledged to work toward reconciliation in November after the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state. A meeting between Fatah and Hamas officials will be held in Cairo later tonight, MENA said, citing Egyptian presidential spokesman Yasser Ali.

The meeting between Mursi, an Islamist fielded for the presidency by the Muslim Brotherhood, and Abbas focused on unifying the Palestinian ranks ahead of any future peace talks, MENA reported. The discussions also examined ways of lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, it said.

Mursi earned international accolades by helping broker a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel in November, ending eight days of violence between the two sides.

The Cairo-based agency also said that the U.S. peace envoy, David Hale, arrived today in Egypt for meetings with officials.

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