Rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas meet in China

Beijing says two sides took part in in-depth and candid dialogue on promoting Palestinian reconciliation.

Fatah and Hamas officials meet in Russia
Fatah and Hamas officials met in intra-Palestinian talks in Moscow on February 12, 2019 [File: Pavel Golovkin/Pool via Reuters]

Rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas have met in China for talks on potential reconciliation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing confirmed on Monday that the groups’ representatives had met recently. The groups have competed for years, but the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip has provoked further talks on Palestinian reconciliation.

The two groups visited China to partake in an in-depth and candid dialogue on the prospect, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said. He did not specify when the meeting took place.

“The two sides fully expressed their political will to achieve reconciliation through dialogue and consultation, discussed many specific issues and made positive progress,” he added.

“China and Palestine share a traditional friendship. We support Palestinian factions in achieving reconciliation and increasing solidarity through dialogue and consultation. We will continue to work actively towards that end.”

Representatives from the two groups, as well as other political factions, met in Moscow earlier this year to discuss the potential formation of a unified Palestinian government.

After defeating Fatah in 2007, Hamas has been the de facto ruler in Gaza since 2007, when it defeated President Mahmoud Abbas’s long-dominant party in parliamentary elections and pushed its rival out of the enclave for its refusal to recognise the result of the vote.

Meanwhile, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has limited autonomy in the areas it administers across the occupied West Bank.

China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and supportive of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Beijing has been calling for an immediate ceasefire since the start of the Israel-Gaza war in October, when a Hamas offensive resulted in the deaths of about 1,139 people, according to Israeli tallies.

Hamas and other armed groups also took about 250 captives during the offensive, with dozens of people still being held in Gaza.

In response, Israeli forces have killed at least 34,535 people in the Gaza Strip, mostly women and children, according to the Ministry of Health in the coastal enclave.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for an “international peace conference” to end the war.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies