Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) talks with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas and Fatah said on Thursday that they have reached agreement to allow the Palestinian Authority government to operate in the Gaza Strip.
Representatives of the two rival parties have been holding “reconciliation” talks in Cairo over the past two days in a bid to end their differences.
Hamas and Fatah leaders said that the agreement reached on Thursday calls for the PA government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, to “immediately” assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian sources said that the agreement allows the PA to take control over the border crossings in the Gaza Strip, including the Rafah terminal.
Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, announced that the Palestinian Authority government would soon manage all the border crossings in the Gaza Strip.
Abu Marzouk, who was speaking in Cairo after Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement to end their differences, said that the two sides agreed to facilitate the work of the PA government in the Gaza Strip.
In addition to the agreement on the border crossings, Abu Marzouk said that former PA civil servants would return to their jobs.
The PA has nearly 70,000 civil servants who have not been working since Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007.
It was not clear whether the two parties had reached agreement over the fate of some 40,000 Hamas employees who have not received salaries for the past few months.
Hamas has been demanding that the PA government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, place its workers on its payroll. However, Hamdallah and other PA officials said they do not recognize the Hamas employees since they were appointed by an "illegitimate government."
Abu Marzouk said the two sides also agreed to form a joint committee to follow up the implementation of previous reconciliation agreements between Hamas and Fatah.
Fatah representative Azzam al-Ahmed told reporters that the two sides agreed to remove all hindrances obstructing the work of the PA government in the Gaza Strip.
Fatah and Hamas delegates resumed reconciliation talks
in Cairo on Wednesday, in another bid to end their dispute.
According to Palestinian negotiators, the main issue that hindered the implementation of previous reconciliation agreements between the two sides was the need to determine who is responsible for making crucial decisions pertaining to peace and war.
Fatah has long said it considers the decision over war and peace a national issue and not a factional matter.
As for indirect cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas -- negotiations have been delayed until the last week of October, a Hamas official said earlier this week.