Cairo talks delayed

01 December 2003
Talks in Cairo between the Palestinian Authority and militant groups operating in the occupied territories have been delayed, said a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority. The talks were scheduled to start on 1 December, but have been delayed for at least 24 hours as some of the participants have yet to arrive, said, the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) ambassador to Egypt, Zuhdi al-Qidra, told Reuters. A senior Palestinian negotiator said that the delay had angered the Egyptian hosts.

The groups agreed to meet in Egypt after an official invitation was extended to all parties by Cairo. Negotiations in the lead-up to the Cairo talks indicate that groups are optimistic about reaching a deal. 'After recent talks with Hamas leaders in Syria, we can say it is highly likely we will accept a ceasefire only if it was mutual, and we will tell Omar Suleiman he only has a specified period of time to get U.S. and Israeli assurances,' said a senior member of Fatah (MEED 20:11:03).

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