Fatah, Hamas postpone unity gov't talks

Agreement reached on the formation of a central elections commission to prepare for presidential and parliamentary votes.

December 21, 2011 01:49
2 minute read.
Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Abbas.

Mashaal with Abbas 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Palestinian factions said Tuesday they have reached an agreement on the formation of a central elections commission to prepare for presidential and parliamentary votes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

However they failed to reach agreement on the establishment of a new Palestinian caretaker government that would be dominated by independent figures. As a result, the Palestinian factions, specifically Fatah and Hamas, agreed to postpone the discussions on the proposed government until the end of next month.

'Abbas is Fatah's only presidential candidate'
Analysis: Palestinian rivals united by drift

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The Palestinian factions are holding marathon discussions in Cairo in a bid to implement the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement that was reached between Hamas and Fatah earlier this year. On Wednesday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal are expected to hold another meeting in the Egyptian capital to discuss ways of removing obstacles preventing the implementation of the reconciliation accord.

Hamas representative Ezat Risheq said that the factions discussed the issue of the proposed elections and agreed to start working on the establishment of a new central elections committee.

He said that the committee would be comprised of members of various Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah.

“The discussions today were very serious,” Risheq said. “We are moving in the right direction.”

He added that at the request of Fatah and Abbas, the factions agreed to postpone discussions on the formation of a new government until late next month.

“There is some kind of an understanding that it’s hard to establish a government before December 26,” he said. “We agreed to delay this issue until late next month.”

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that the Cairo discussions also dealt with ways of building confidence between his movement and Hamas, such as the release of detainees being held by the two parties in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He said other confidence-building measures included permitting Fatah activists who fled the Gaza Strip after the Hamas takeover in 2007 to return to their homes.

Hamas revealed Tuesday that the PA security forces have arrested 76 Hamas supporters in the West Bank in the past month “in violation of understandings reached between Abbas and Mashaal.”

Earlier, eight Palestinian factions participating in the Cairo talks pulled out of the meetings after Fatah leaders threatened to boycott the session.

The Fatah threat was issued under the pretext that the eight factions were not part of the PLO, and therefore were not entitled to participate in the intra-Palestinian dialogue.

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