Hamas' Gaza strongman, Mahmoud Zahar, at the start of Saturday's session said the group was still studying the Egyptian proposal.

He repeated the group's position that it will not be part of any government programme that involves the recognition of the Jewish state.

The key stumbling block in the Egyptian-mediated talks remains the political programme of a unity government that would be in power until elections are held in January 2010.

The international community says it will only deal with a Palestinian government that recognizes Israel, a concession Hamas is unwilling to make.

Gaza border opened

Meanwhile, Egypt on Saturday opened its borders with the Gaza
Strip to allow the departure of a number of Palestinians travelling to Egypt for medical treatment, among other travellers, Hamas authorities said.

A statement by Hamas's interior ministry said that the crossing will remain open for two days, adding that only patients, students and holders of foreign passports and residence permits are allowed to leave.

Since 2007, when Hamas routed security forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and seized the coastal Strip, the border
between Gaza and Egypt has only been intermittently open.

The crossing is the Gaza Strip's only crossing that does not exit to
Israel.