"We have told the prime minister that we want to preserve Palestinian unity and that we will hold dialogue to resolve all conflict," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters after the meeting on Saturday.

"This meeting was important and positive. No one wants to take up arms," he added.

Representatives of ailing Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement also took part in the meeting.

"Taking up arms is not a solution. Any domestic problem must be solved by national dialogue. This is the only way"

Ahmad Quraya,
Palestinian prime minister

Earlier, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya urged people not to allow themselves to be dragged into internecine warfare in the event of Arafat's death. He made this appeal at a two-hour meeting with representatives of the main Palestinian groups in Gaza.

"Taking up arms is not a solution," Quraya later told a press conference. "Any domestic problem must be solved by national dialogue. This is the only way."

Fears of unrest in Gaza are particularly acute as clashes between armed groups and the security forces have broken out on a number of occasions in recent months.