Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for three days

Fatah: Rafah crossing to open soon

Egypt opened the Rafah crossing point Saturday for three days on a humanitarian basis for the first time since the militant Hamas group ceded control of Gaza's crossings with Israel and Egypt to the Western-backed PA.

Approximately three weeks ago, Hamas handed over the control of Gaza's border crossings to the PA as part of the reconciliation agreement.

Egypt will host further talks with Hamas, Fatah and other factions next week on November 21 to discuss major reconciliation issues, including security arrangements and a possible date for Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections.

According to the Cairo agreement which was signed on 12 October, Egypt agreed with Fatah and Hamas to reopen the Rafah border crossing last Tuesday, but the official said that "Saudi Arabia seemed to have pressured Egypt to retreat until the PA approves the two-state solution deal".

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Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip had been totally sealed since August, and was largely closed for years beforehand.

Last week, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar stated that his organization doesn't intend to dismantle the military wing: "We, as a nation, are still in the process of national liberation and we can not give up our weapons".

All Palestinian factions are due to meet in Cairo next week to discuss ways to move reconciliation forward.

The European Union, which helped monitor the crossing before the Hamas takeover, says it is sending diplomats to the region to explore "a possible redeployment" of its operation.

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