Abbas meets Mashaal in Cairo 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled
Mashaal announced on Thursday that they have agreed to work as
"partners" and said they would open a new page in relations between
Fatah and Hamas.
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Although Abbas and Mashaal said they held
"positive" talks in Cairo, they failed to reach agreement over the
formation of a Palestinian unity government.
they did agree to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in May
2012 and release each other's detainees from their prisons.
The two men agreed to hold another meeting on December 22.
are no differences between us at all and we agreed to work as partners
and share responsibilities," Abbas told reporters after the meeting. "We
share the same responsibility toward our people and cause."
Mashaal said in a brief statement that he agreed with Abbas to "open a
new page" in relations between the two sides. He said that the two
parties were serious about implementing the Egyptian-brokered
reconciliation agreement that was reached between Fatah and Hamas last
"I want everyone to be reassured and await developments on the ground
and not talk," Mashaal said. "The atmosphere is positive and we hope
that our people would help."
Following the summit, Hamas and Fatah announced that they would hold
additional meetings next month to discuss the implementation of the
Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed said that Abbas and Mashaal discussed all
the issues mentioned in the reconciliation accord: reconstructing the
PLO, forming a unity government, holding new elections and reuniting
Palestinian civilian and security institutions.
Admitting that the two sides have failed to reach agreement on the
establishment of a unity government, the Fatah official said that Abbas
and Mashaal would hold another meeting in the future to discuss this
issue.Fayyad remains point of contention between sides
Hamas is strongly opposed to the appointment of current PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as head of any government.
A PA official in Ramallah said that Abbas emphasized during the summit
that he was unable at this stage to dump Fayyad because of American and
European pressure and threats to suspend financial aid to the
Al-Ahmed said that Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a committee that would
look into ways of reconstructing the PLO so that Hamas would be able to
join the organization. Hamas has never joined the PLO, which consists
of several Palestinian groups - the largest being Fatah.
He added that the two sides also agreed to end the case of "political
detainees" who are being held in PA and Hamas prisons in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip. In addition, they agreed to lift travel bans imposed by
the PA and Hamas governments on members of both parties, al-Ahmed said.
He said that Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold the next elections in May 2012 as envisaged by the reconciliation deal in Cairo.
Hamas and Fatah also agreed on the need to enhance "popular resistance
against settlements and the [security] wall," he said without
From now on Fatah and Hamas will coordinate their steps in the international arena, the Fatah official said.
Hamas representative Ezat Risheq told reporters that the Abbas-Mashaal summit was "positive and frank."
Risheq said that Thursday's summit "inaugurated a new phase in the life of the Palestinian people - an era with no divisions."
He added that the most significant outcome of the summit was that Fatah
and Hamas have now agreed to implement last may's reconciliation accord
on the ground. "The Palestinians and the entire world will sense real
steps on the ground," Risheq said. He too conceded that the two sides
have failed to reach agreement on the formation of a unity government,
but said that the issue would be discussed in future meetings between
Hamas and Fatah.