DHAKA: Fatah and Hamas began talks to form a unity government on Monday in a renewed bid to heal political rifts, paving the way for a general election.
Hamas runs the Gaza Strip as a separate entity, ignoring policies set by Abbas’s Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
The split has divided the Palestinians politically as well as geographically.
On Monday, Hamas prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh met Hanna Nasir, chairman of the Palestinian Central Election Commission (CEC) appointed by Abbas, to choose members of a technocractic government to oversee the election, a Palestinian official involved in the talks told media.
The official who asked not to be identified said, ‘President Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal will meet next week to finalize the formation of the government and hopefully to announce it, should everything go well.’
At a news conference, held jointly with Nasir, Haniyeh’s deputy Mohammed Awad said, ‘They (CEC) can start registering the people (voters) in Gaza immediately and without any delays.’
Hamas’s agreement to let the CEC work in Gaza was a condition set by Abbas for starting consultations on forming a unity government.
Nasir said voter registration would take six weeks and Abbas would then decide on a date for presidential and parliamentary elections.
Abbas will lead the new government to try to attract international recognition and funds, and says it will honour international accords, including those with Israel.
Hamas rejects those accords and has been under an international embargo since it seized control of Gaza in 2007 for its refusal to recognise Israel.
‘I hope there will be no obstacles, so that we can begin the process of ending the division’, Nasir said.
Previous agreements to end five years of hostility that have divided the Palestinian national movement have failed because of political disputes between the two groups.
They signed a reconciliation treaty last year in Cairo with fanfare, but then failed to implement its terms.
BDST: 2131 HRS, MAY 29, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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