‘Fatah, Hamas reached tentative deal on Palestinian unity government’

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Ramallah, Feb 18 (IANS) Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have reached a “tentative agreement” on forming a unity government, a senior Fatah official said on Wednesday.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said the preliminary agreement was reached during the two-day dialogue held in Qatar on February 7 between leaders of the two rival groups, Xinhua reported.

Besides forming a unity Palestinian government, the meeting also decided on a specific date for holding the presidential and parliamentary elections “within six months to one year,” said Zaki.

He added that contacts on high levels are continuing between the leaderships of the two groups in order to reach a final understanding on the mechanisms of implementing the agreement.

A new date is to be fixed soon for holding another round of dialogue in Doha to finalise all related issues, said Zaki, reaffirming that any final deal “has to be guaranteed for immediate implementation”.

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Among the sticky and outstanding issues is the question of paying regular monthly salaries to around 45,000 employees appointed by Hamas after the movement’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Handing over security affairs and control on crossing points either between Gaza and Israel or between Gaza and Egypt was another outstanding issue that was deeply discussed in the last session of dialogue, according to Zaki.

The senior Fatah official also clarified that the current Palestinian situation and the ongoing changes in the region have urged the two sides to seriously think of ending the internal Palestinian split.

“In case the two sides reach a final agreement, President Mahmoud Abbas will immediately head to Qatar to sign the agreement with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal,” said Zaki.

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