Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal
are close to reaching an agreement on the formation of a unity government that
would prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections, Palestinian sources
The progress was achieved during talks Sunday between Abbas and
Mashaal in Doha, Qatar, the sources said.
The two were expected to hold a
second meeting late Sunday to agree on the identity of the prime minister who
would head the unity government, the sources said.
The unity government
will be announced within the next two weeks, added the sources.
It is not
clear at this stage who would head the unity government.
Hamas has voiced
strong opposition to the appointment of current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as
head of the proposed unity government.
Abbas and Mashaal met under the
auspices of the rulers of Qatar, who have put pressure on Fatah and Hamas to
implement the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation that they reached in Cairo last
Azzam Ahmed, a top aide to Abbas, said that the two parties agreed
on the formation of a unity government and to holding new elections in the near
Ahmed said the two men also managed to solve a number of problems
hindering the implementation of the reconciliation accord, such as the travel
ban imposed by Hamas on Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip, and the issuing of
Palestinian passports to residents of the West Bank.
In a separate
development, Emad Alami, a senior Hamas official, arrived Sunday in the Gaza
Strip after spending the last 21 years in Syria.
Alami, member of the
Hamas political bureau, is one of several Hamas leaders who left Syria in recent
weeks in the wake of growing tensions with the Syrian authorities.