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Abbas hold secret talks with Hamas militant leader

Published 14/01/2007

Envoys of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas have been holding secret meetings with exiled top leader of the militant Hamas group to end deadly Palestinian infighting and prepare new coalition talks, senior officials say.

Abbas will come to Damascus, Syria, tomorrow, to meet exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and Syrian officials, said Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau in Syria.

Officials from both Palestinian sides said significant progress had been made in the secret talks over the past two weeks between Mashaal and two Abbas envoys, independent legislator Ziad Abu Amr and Mohammed Rashid - a former adviser to Abbas' predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat.

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