Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmad (right) and Saleh al-Aruri (left) of Hamas shake hands after signing a reconciliation deal in Cairo on Oct. 12. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)
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Leading Palestinian political factions began talks in Cairo Tuesday aimed at pushing ahead with reconciliation efforts, including discussing the formation of a unity government.The two largest parties -- Fatah and Hamas -- signed an Egyptian-sponsored unity deal on October 12 under which Hamas is supposed to cede power in the Gaza Strip by December 1 .There have been no Palestinian parliamentary elections since Islamist movement Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.Neither Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmud Abbas nor Hamas chief Ismail Haniya will attend.Israel has also said it will not accept any Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless the Islamist group puts down its weapons.Grant Rumley, research fellow at the US-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the issue had the potential to derail reconciliation efforts.He said the parties could choose to avoid looking for a final decision on Hamas's weapons at this week's talks, instead looking to build trust between the parties who have been at loggerheads for a decade.
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