Rival Palestinian Arab factions Hamas and Fatah began talks in Cairo on Wednesday aimed at resolving internal disputes and reviving their unity government.
The two-day talks will focus on "the return (of the unity government) in the Gaza Strip and the implementation of its authority without obstacles," said the head of Fatah's delegation, Azzam Al-Ahmad.
The talks come after a joint Palestinian delegation and Israel agreed to hold indirect talks in late October to thrash out a lasting truce in Gaza.
Under Egyptian mediation, Israel and the Palestinians agreed on August 26 to a ceasefire that ended a 50-day war between Gazan terrorists, led by Hamas, and Israeli forces.
But in order to negotiate with Israel in October, Hamas and Fatah will need to iron out their own differences to agree on a unified strategy during talks with the Jewish negotiators.
That will be easier said than done.
Although the two fierce rivals set up a unity government of independents in June they soon found themselves at loggerheads again, with Abbas threatening to end the administration and accusing Hamas of running a "parallel government" as de facto ruler in the Gaza Strip. The Islamist terror group may well have been planning something similar in Judea and Samaria as well; Israeli security forces recently broke up a major Hamas cell which they say was planning a coup against the Palestinian Authority there.
Fatah officials have also accused Hamas of detaining, maiming and even executing Fatah members in Gaza.
Hamas in turn accuses Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, headquartered in Ramallah, of not paying its 45,000 employees in Gaza.
The unity government is also crucial ahead of an international donor conference on October 12, to be hosted by Cairo, on the reconstruction of Gaza.
AFP contributed to this report.