Fatah, Hamas announce Palestinian reconciliation deal
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Hamas movement on Wednesday announced a reconciliation agreement, declaring an end to their internal split.
"The Palestinian internal division has gone once and forever," Prime Minister of Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, told reporters in a joint press conference with Abbas' representatives in Gaza City.
Under the agreement, the sides would start discussions to form a unity government within five weeks.
The new deal is the outcome of two days of intensive discussions between Hamas officials and a prominent delegation representing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The new understandings would end a Palestinian political rift that started when Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007 after routing the forces loyal to Abbas who now rules the West Bank.
Haniya said that legislative, presidential and the PLO's National Council elections would be held simultaneously and that Abbas would set the date for holding the polls at least six months after formation of a unity government.
The Hamas prime minister said the new deal mainly focuses on implementing previous reconciliation agreements signed in Egypt in 2011 and Qatar in 2012.
On the PLO, Haniya said a committee to reactivate and develop the Palestinian organization will convene within five weeks to discuss possible ways to reshape the Palestinian umbrella group.
Meanwhile, other minor committees for social reconciliation and public freedoms will convene and start functioning as was agreed in the Cairo deal of 2011.
The Palestinian Legislative Council will also be reactivated in accordance with previous agreements, Haniya added.
Since the beginning of the Palestinian rift, Hamas and Fatah movements have reached several deals to form a unity government that prepares for holding new elections.
However, none of those deals were implemented in the past as Hamas insisted that elections cannot be held before controversial issues were resolved.