PA President Mahmoud Abbas is in talks with Hamas head Khaled Mashaal and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to form unity government ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections, reported Palestinian news agency Ma’an Tuesday.

Abbas received phone calls from Mashaal and Haniyeh confirming their decision to join Hamas with Fatah, according to Ma’an sources.

This was not the first time that the two parties had announced an agreement to end their differences. Over the past few years, Fatah and Hamas have reached a number of such agreements that were never implemented.

Hamas leaders allegedly requested that the national unity government serve for six months instead of three as agreed in the 2012 Doha Agreement, one of many attempts at reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions.

Ma’an sources suggested that Abbas would choose Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to lead the unity government.

The two rival parties have been distant since 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian democratic elections.

Clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas the following year, leaving Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah in control of the West Bank.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.


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