Ramallah, Feb 12 (IANS) A Palestinian cabinet minister met an imprisoned senior leader of President Mahmoud Abbas-led Fatah party to discuss the upcoming general elections.
The meeting took place on Thursday between Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh and Fatah's Marwan Barghouti, who is currently serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail after he was convicted for murder in 2002.
Nabil Shaath, an aide to Abbas, told Xinhua news agency that the meeting aimed at agreeing on a unified list for the party which will contest the elections.
"The meeting between al-Sheikh and Barghouti focused on backing President Abbas as Fatah's sole candidate in the presidential elections due on July 31," Shaath said.
An Israeli media report earlier said that the Jewish state had allowed al-Sheikh to visit Barghouti in prison.
Israel arrested Barghouti, 63, from his home in a village near Ramallah in April 2002, and accused him of leading the Fatah party's armed wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in the West Bank.
In a decree issued in January, Abbas announced that the general election will include legislative elections on May 22, presidential elections on July 31, and the Palestinian National Council elections on August 31.