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Fatah central committee convenes
The Fatah movement's central committee has begun its first meeting in 10 years, comprising members inside and outside the Palestinian territories, in the Jordanian capital Amman.
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2005 23:29 GMT
King Abdullah (C) met Abbas (L) and Qaddumi in Amman
The Fatah movement's central committee has begun its first meeting in 10 years, comprising members inside and outside the Palestinian territories, in the Jordanian capital Amman.

The Amman meeting is expected to discuss ways of modernising the party and bringing in the Islamist militant movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad into broad-based Palestinian political organisations.

It is taking place in Jordan so that the largest possible number of committee members can attend, including exiled leaders who refuse to deal with Israel.
  
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and exiled Fatah chief Faruq Qaddumi also used the occasion to try to overcome lingering differences that have long troubled their relationship, officials said.

Qaddumi is seen as the strongest political rival to Abbas. Tensions between Abbas and Qaddumi have flared up in recent months. 

However, according to senior Palestinian figures, who spoke to Aljazeera, the issue of appointing a Palestinian vice-president would not be tackled during the talks.

"It must be discussed in a joint meeting between the Palestinian National Council and the Palestinian Central Council," a spokesman said.
 
Renewal issues

Palestinian deputy prime minister Nabil Shaath said the committee would focus on "Fatah's internal situation and the renewal of the movement", which has faced demands by the new guard to modernise.

"The meeting between Qaddumi and Abbas was excellent and positive and is a good omen for the internal organisation of Fatah"

Abbas Zaki, Fatah member 

It will also discuss nominations for key posts within the Palestinian Authority, plans to convene a Fatah party congress and a meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the parliament-in-exile, officials said.
  
"The meeting will seek to assign a date and venue for a meeting of the Palestine National Council and discuss its future composition ... as well as the inclusion of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad [in the PNC]," committee member Zakariya al-Agha said.

The Palestinian leadership has held a series of discussions with various factions in recent months, including Hamas and Jihad, in a bid to close ranks and forge a united front ahead of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip.
  
Resolving differences

Officials said Abbas and Qaddumi held a meeting on Wednesday to try to iron out their differences.
  
"The meeting between Qaddumi and Abbas was excellent and positive and is a good omen for the internal organisation of Fatah," central committee member Abbas Zaki said.

Earlier this month Zaki said Qaddumi was tipped to be made "vice-president of Palestine" and "vice-president of the executive committee" of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
  
A senior Palestinian official said on Thursday that Abbas had asked Qaddumi to take over the two posts but the latter rejected the offer.
  
Qaddumi's position

"Qaddumi turned down the posts of vice-president of the Palestinian Authority and vice president of the PLO's executive committee during Wednesday evening's meeting with Abbas," said the official who declined to be identified. 

Fatah wants Hamas and Islamic
Jihad to join the political process

"Qaddumi insisted that he wanted to keep his post as chief of Fatah and head of the PLO's political department," he added.
  
Qaddumi is based in Tunis and refuses to step foot in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
  
Relations between him and Abbas have been notoriously difficult but the two leaders met in Tunis at the end of May for the first time since Arafat's death.
  
Political reinforcement

The central committee will also seek to replace five members who have died over the past few years to bring back its strength to 21 members, officials said. 
  
Meanwhile, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Adnan Badran called on Abbas at the central committee meeting separately in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian leadership and its people, officials said.
  
"The king's visit reflects Jordan's support with the Palestinian leadership and people in their quest to recover their national rights," Shaath said. 

Source:
Aljazeera + Agencies
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