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Fatah-Hamas leadership dispute could jeopardize Palestinian statehood campaign

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The two rival Palestinian political factions, Hamas and Fatah, are meeting in Cairo to decide on a key aspect of their reconciliation pact: who should head a unity government. But reported disagreements over a leader appear nearly irreconcilable, threatening to weaken the Palestinians' hand as they push for statehood recognition from the United Nations in September.

Fatah, the secular party that controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the Islamist party in control of the Gaza Strip, signed a reconciliation agreement in early May that laid out plans for a Palestinian unity government, with the exact composition to be decided later.

The top priority of today's meeting in Cairo is selecting a leader for the interim government and discussing other top posts, according to Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram. This weekend, Fatah named Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as its top candidate for the post. On Sunday, however, Hamas rejected Mr. Fayyad as an acceptable option, the Associated Press reports.


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