Rival Palestinian parties Hamas and Fatah have signed an agreement accelerating their reconciliation process, Palestinian Ma'an news agency quoted a Fatah official as saying.

Under the terms of the deal, heads of the two parties will begin consultations on a government, and will choose a new cabinet with ten days of the start of negotiations, Ma'an reported.

Delegations representing Fatah and Hamas met in Cairo last week, after the PA's formation of a new cabinet last week drew the ire of several leading Hamas figures due to the Gaza-ruling Islamist party's absence from the new government.

Delegations from the two parties have met consistently in the Egyptian capital in the past year in order to hammer out the diplomatic steps necessary to unite Hamas and Fatah after years of schism.

While a number of high-profile meetings that included top officials from Hamas and Fatah were held since May, 2011 in the Egyptian and Qatari capitals, the facts on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank have changed little to reflect those intentions.

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