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      Abbas and Mashaal to Meet Morsi in Egypt

      Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will meet PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on Wednesday.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/9/2013, 4:42 AM

      Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal
      Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal
      Flash 90

      Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will meet Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on Wednesday, Morsi's office said.

      Abbas and Mashaal will first "meet Egypt's intelligence chief before holding a three-way meeting with President Morsi," presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told AFP.

      Azzam al-Ahmad, who is in charge of reconciliation efforts between his Fatah party, of which Abbas is head, said Abbas was traveling to Egypt at Morsi's invitation to discuss the subject.

      Mashaal and aides arrived in Cairo from Doha on Tuesday for a visit of several days, the official MENA news agency said.

      Hamas and Fatah had been at loggerheads since the Islamist movement seized control of Gaza in June 2007, following its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.

      Under Egyptian mediation, the two groups reached a unity agreement in April 2011 but it has so far faltered as the parties spar over its implementation.

      This will be the first meeting between Abbas and Mashaal hosted by the Egyptian president since he was elected in June of last year.

      The sides seems to have been getting closer since Israel Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. During the counterterrorism operation, the two factions announced they have decided to end infighting. The Palestinian Authority later announced it will release Hamas-affiliated detainees as a goodwill gesture to boost reconciliation efforts.

      Last week, for the first time since its violent takeover of Gaza, Hamas allowed the Gaza branch of Fatah party to mark its anniversary in the region.