Egypt hails ‘opportunity’ for Palestinian unity

GAZA CITY — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said Palestinian reconciliation could be an “opportunity” for wider regional peace, while Hamas welcomed Cairo’s aid.

“The whole world is waiting for your efforts to achieve reconciliation among the Palestinian people and appreciates your determination to address all obstacles,” Sissi said in a pre-recorded speech addressing the two main Palestinian movements on Tuesday.

“There is a chance to realize peace in the region, providing all the parties are united,” he said.

The video was played as Egyptian intelligence head Khaled Fawzi met with Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders in the Gaza Strip.

Cairo has been the key backer in attempts to bring the two Palestinian sides together, and Sissi said the global powers would back the talks.

“I am confident the major world powers, when they see the Palestinian parties are fully aware of the nature of this phase and the importance of dialogue to achieve the goal of peace, will help to realize this peace,” he added.

The terror group Hamas has ruled Gaza since a violent overthrow of the Palestinian Authority in 2007, but last month agreed to hand over civilian rule after Egyptian mediation .

Israel, however, says it will reject any deal between the two factions in which Hamas is allowed to keep its weapons.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday they were willing to “pay any price” for reconciliation, while praising the Egyptian role.

“I say on my behalf and on behalf of the brothers in Fatah and all the Palestinian factions that we are ready to pay any price for the success of Palestinian national reconciliation,” he said.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas since 2008.

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