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Dahlan, Tony Blair 'discuss Hamas' with Egyptian intelligence officials

Dahlan and Abbas, both from Fatah, turned into arch rivals in 2011 [JAMAL ARURI/AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 31 August, 2015

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Expelled Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan and former UK PM Tony Blair hold talks in Cairo with intelligence officials Monday to discuss relations between Hamas and Egypt, Al-Araby al-Jadeed has learned.

Egyptian political sources have revealed that the visit by Mohammed Dahlan, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and British former Prime Minister Tony Blair to Cairo, is part of mediation efforts between Hamas and Egypt.

The sources said the visit is aimed at heading off recent "regional efforts" to kick-start negotiations over a long term truce between Gaza's factions and Israel.

The sources said these efforts had come a long way recently, at a time when Hamas remains opposed to Blair's role.

Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas's political bureau, reportedly declined an invitation from Blair, who is also the former envoy of the International Quartet, to visit Britain.

The same sources said Blair and Dahlan will be meeting Egyptian intelligence officials in charge of Palestinian affairs on Monday evening. The sources placed this in the context of Dahlan's attempts to promote himself among Palestinians to become the next Palestinian Authority president.

In an interview with the editorial board of an Egyptian newspaper, Dahlan lashed against current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, calling him a "small dictator under occupation." Dahlan claimed that in the event he becomes president, he would seek to unite all Palestinian factions.

Mahmoud Abbas had told BBC a few days ago that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad should join the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Tensions between Hamas and the government of Egypt had escalated when four members of the Palestinian Islamist group were kidnapped on Egyptian territory, after crossing under a prior agreement with Egyptian intelligence.

Unknown assailants attacked a bus carrying the four men, a few hundred meters from the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip.

Blair had arrived on a private jet in Cairo on Sunday coming from Tel Aviv for a two-day visit.

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