Hamas denied on Saturday that it has reached agreement with its rivals in Fatah to hold new elections for the Palestinian Authority presidency and parliament, the Palestine Legislative Council.The denial came one day after PA President Mahmoud Abbas promised the United Nations General Assembly that those elections would be held. “Here we are, despite all the obstacles that you know too well, preparing ourselves to hold parliamentary elections, followed by presidential elections, with the participation of all factions and political parties,” Abbas said during his virtual address to the 75th UNGA opening session.His words echoed those of Jibril Rajoub, Secretary-General of the Fatah Central Committee, who on Friday announced that his faction and Hamas reached agreement on holding the long overdue elections based on the system of proportional representation.The last presidential election was held in January 2005. The last parliamentary election, held one year later, resulted in a Hamas victory.Rajoub’s announcement came after two days of discussions in Turkey between Hamas and Fatah officials on ways of ending their dispute and holding elections. Rajoub headed the Fatah delegation to the talks, while the Hamas team was led by Saleh Arouri, deputy head of the group’s “political bureau.”“We have conducted an intensive national strategic dialogue at the Palestinian Consulate in Istanbul, and we reached a clear vision of the mechanisms for building national partnership through proportional representation elections, starting with the parliamentary election, then the presidential election, and finally the National Council,” Rajoub told the PA’s official Palestine TV.“We are waiting for the invitation of President Mahmoud Abbas to the secretary-generals of the Palestinian factions to endorse the principle and confirm the mechanisms, starting with the issuance of the presidential decree and until the final stage. Building national unity is a strategic goal of the agreement, and is our path to elections.”Senior Hamas official Hussam Badran, however, said on Saturday that the “statements circulating about confirmed agreements and schedules are incorrect.”Badran stressed that Hamas was seeking “comprehensive national agreements on all issues,” and not just on elections. “The dialogue with Fatah is not a substitute for a comprehensive national dialogue, but rather a preparation for it.”On Friday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh phoned PA President Mahmoud Abbas and discussed with him the outcome of the Fatah-Hamas meeting in Turkey. Haniyeh emphasized during the phone call Hamas’s support for the success of the Fatah-Hamas dialogue and said there is a need for a unified national front to confront all conspiracies against the Palestinians, according to a statement released by Hamas.Hamas has demanded that Abbas lift the economic sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip two years ago as a first step toward ending its rivalry with Fatah. The sanctions include, among other things, the suspension of salaries and financial aid to thousands of Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.The dispute between Fatah and Hamas reached its peak in 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip.Several agreements reached in the past between the two rival parties were never implemented due to the ongoing dispute between them.Recently, Hamas and Fatah agreed to work together to topple US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace, Peace to Prosperity, and the since-shelved Israeli intention to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.Rajoub said on Saturday that Fatah has taken a “strategic decision to achieve national reconciliation with Hamas based on political partnership.”His statement came during a meeting in Doha, Qatar, with former Hamas leader Khaled Masha’al and two other senior officials of the group, Musa Abu Marzouk and Ezzat al-Risheq.Rajoub told the Hamas officials that Fatah would honor the results of any elections, regardless of their results.Mahmoud Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah, said that his faction and Hamas have reached a preliminary agreement “to confront the American-Israeli schemes and the normalization of relations between a number of Arab countries and Israel.”The Palestinians, Aloul added, “have not mandated anyone to speak on their behalf and the PLO will remain the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.