Fatah, Hamas start unifying talks

2011-05-16 20:37

Cairo - Talks between Hamas and Fatah to hammer out details of a joint Palestinian government began in Cairo on Monday after Egypt brokered a deal to end their four-year feud.

The discussions centre on the make-up of an interim government unifying the Fatah-run West Bank with the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas, and on preparations for a general election within a year.

The deal, denounced by Israel, was brokered in secret. The split between the two factions has hindered their quest to achieve a Palestinian state based on land captured by Israel in 1967.

"The meeting will discuss means of implementing what was agreed upon in the reconciliation pact," Egypt's official news agency MENA reported, citing Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah's negotiating team in Cairo.

The two sides will discuss forming a government composed of "qualified and independent" members as well as moving toward reviving the Palestinian National Council, MENA reported.

The Palestinian National Council is equivalent to the Palestine Liberation Organisation's parliament, representing Palestinians inside and outside the Palestinian territories.

It has not met for years.

Hamas and Fatah will also broach divisive issues such as the fate of prisoners held by either faction, MENA said.

Read more on:    hamas  |  fatah  |  egypt  |  palestine  |  middle east peace

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