Sunday, August 22, 1999 Published at 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
World: Middle East
Arafat meets radical opponent
Yasser Arafat wants to reunite Palestinian factions
By Barbara Plett in Cairo
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has begun a two-day meeting in Cairo with his estranged comrade, Nayef Hawatmeh.
But the DFLP and another radical opposition group are participating in talks aimed at reuniting Palestinian factions ahead of final peace negotiations with Israel.
Yasser Arafat has not met his former colleague since the two fell out over the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord hammered out in Oslo six years ago.
Palestinian officials have welcomed the opportunity to seek the widest possible consensus to bolster their bargaining position.
But finding a compromise will be tough. Mr Hawatmeh is calling for a new negotiating strategy.
He wants the final peace talks to be based on UN resolutions that call for Israel to withdraw from the land it occupied in 1967, not on the Oslo peace process which has set up limited autonomy in the occupied territories.
He is also asking for a coalition leadership that would include those both in and outside of the territories.
Another radical opposition group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, held similar reconciliation talks with the Palestinian leader a few weeks ago.
Analysts say the two factions recognise that they will lose out if they continue to reject a process that will ultimately decide their fate.
They are also aware that their patron Syria is losing enthusiasm for supporting Palestinian militants as it prepares to resume peace talks with Israel.