Cairo: Abbas, Mashaal 'turn new page' on Palestinian unity

Fatah, Hamas leaders hail new partnership during 2 hour meeting on reconciliation accord; "there are no more differences between us now, we have agreed to work as partners" PA president says.

Khaled Mashaal in Cairo after reconcilliation agreement_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Khaled Mashaal in Cairo after reconcilliation agreement_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal hailed a new Palestinian partnership Thursday when they met in Cairo to discuss a reconciliation pact signed seven months ago, AFP reported.
Mashaal said the two had turned a new page in relation to the Palestinian nation while Abbas, who heads Fatah, explained that "there are no more differences between us now."
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"We have agreed to work as partners with joint responsibility," Abbas added after the two hour meeting during which the leaders talked about ways of implementing the reconciliation accord that was reached between Hamas and Fatah in May, but never implemented.
On Wednesday, Hamas said its position toward Israel would not change after the formation of a Palestinian unity government.
Hamas also reiterated its opposition to the appointment of current PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as head of the proposed unity government.
“Hamas will not change its position toward Israel, which will remain our enemy,” Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel said Wednesday. “Hamas won’t recognize Israel and won’t give up its principles.”
If it doesn’t, however, and a unity government is formed, this will run the risk of endangering EU cooperation with the PA.
John Gatt-Rutter, the acting EU representative to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and UNRWA, said at an EU press briefing in Jerusalem that Brussels was sending messages to the PA that it would only continue its cooperation with a Hamas-Fatah unity government if Hamas moderated it positions on Israel. He said the cooperation he was referring to was both political and economic.
EU Ambassador Andrew Standley said the EU’s longstanding position that it would not engage with Hamas until it recognized Israel, abandoned terrorism and accepted previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements has not changed.