MECCA, Saudi Arabia, (Reuters) – Rival Palestinian factions began a second day of crisis talks in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, focussing on the platform of a unity government that would honour past agreements with Israel.
A deal on a unity government could help end deadly fighting that has killed more than 90 Palestinians since December.
It could also end an international blockade of Islamist group Hamas, which won parliamentary elections last year against the Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas that had steered peace talks with Israel since 1993. “There is a big chance to overcome this hurdle,” said a Hamas official who declined to be named, referring to the question of previous agreements. He said this would be the main point of discussion at committee-level on Thursday, and a final agreement from the leaders could be reached on Friday.
Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal vowed on Wednesday at the opening of the Saudi-mediated talks not to leave Mecca without agreement.
Western countries have halted funding until Hamas recognises Israel and agrees to previous agreements with Israel signed by the Palestinian Authority. “We have built good foundations for dialogue … I hope we can reach an agreement as soon as possible, said Ghazi Hamad, a government spokesman from Hamas.