Official: Fatah, Hamas agree deadline for reconciliation govt
Published Sunday 20/05/2012 (updated) 27/05/2012 00:02
Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas shake hands after
a reconciliation meeting in Cairo on Nov. 24. (Reuters/Mohamad al-Hams/HO)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said his party signed an agreement with Hamas in Cairo late Sunday to accelerate the reconciliation process.
Under the deal, the Palestinian Elections Commission will begin work in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on May 27, after which President Mahmoud Abbas will immediately begin consultations on a consensus government as previously agreed by party leaders, al-Ahmad told Ma'an.
Members of the new cabinet will be agreed upon within 10 days from the start of consultations, he added.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum confirmed that his movement had signed an agreement with Fatah. The unity government will operate for six months, during which time it will set a date for general elections, he said.
Yasser Wadiyah, head of Palestinian independent figures, also confirmed the details of the agreement and said Egypt had exerted serious efforts to reach the breakthrough.
The factions met on Sunday in the Egyptian capital in the latest attempt to revive the stalled reconciliation deal of May 2011, also brokered by Cairo.
Hamas and Fatah have led separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank since they split amid bitter fighting in 2007.
Party leaders meeting in Doha in February decided to form a unity government headed by the president, in order to implement the reconciliation deal signed the previous year. The position of Abbas in the proposed joint cabinet caused uproar in Hamas ranks.
On Wednesday, President Abbas swore in a new cabinet to his West Bank government, prompting condemnation from Gaza's Hamas rulers who said the president should instead have focused on a forming a unity government. Both factions blamed the other for the impasse on the reconciliation deal.