Hamas and Fatah representatives met in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, to discuss the formation of a Palestinian unity government. Fatah senior official Azzam al-Ahmed represented his faction in the talks with Hamas, headed by exiled Islamist leader Moussa Abu Marzouk.

The two parties hope to complete the formation of the new government by the end of this month in accordance with the reconciliation deal signed in the Gaza Strip three weeks ago.

A spokesman said that the two sides have made “huge and positive progress” toward implementing the agreement, which envisages the establishment of a “national consensus” government within five weeks.

The new government, which is expected to be headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, will consist of independent figures and technocrats with no political affiliation.

On Monday night, Abbas met in his office in Ramallah with a Hamas delegation and reiterated his keenness to end the dispute between the two parties.

The delegation was headed by Abdel Aziz Dweik, the Hamas speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and included senior officials Hassan Yusef, Muhammad Totah, Nasser Eddin Shaer and Samir Abu Eisheh.

Dweik said after the meeting that he was now “more optimistic” about the prospects of ending the Hamas-Fatah rivalry.

But as the two sides continued to voice optimism regarding the reconciliation accord, Hamas accused the PA security forces of arresting six of its supporters and Islamic Jihad members in the West Bank.

Hamas said the PA security forces also raided the homes of several Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists and summoned them for interrogation.

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