Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 16:23 UK

Fatah-Hamas unity talks suspended

Top Palestinian officials Ahmed Qureia of Fatah, left, and and Moussa Abu Marzouk of Hamas seen during a news conference following talks in Cairo, Egypt, on 26 February 2009

The two biggest Palestinian factions say they have suspended reconciliation talks for three weeks.

The talks in Cairo between rivals Fatah and Hamas, mediated by Egypt, were adjourned two weeks ago after they failed to agree on a unity government.

Fatah and Hamas, which control the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively, had hoped to reach an agreement by the end of March.

Policy, security and electoral arrangements remain areas of dispute.

"There are new creative proposals and each movement needs to consult its leadership," senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Mr Shaath said the talks would resume between 21-26 April, without giving any further details.

The largely secular Fatah runs Palestinian affairs in the West Bank while Hamas, an Islamist organisation, seized Gaza nearly two years ago.

The US, EU and UN say they will not deal with Hamas unless it rejects violence and recognises Israel.

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