DHAKA: Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have announced a reconciliation deal after a meeting in the Gaza Strip.
They have agreed to begin negotiations to form a unity government within the coming weeks.
It comes as peace talks between the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israel face collapse.
This is not the first time Fatah and Hamas have tried to reconcile since their violent split in 2007, but such agreements were never implemented.
The latest deal was announced at a news conference between Fatah and Hamas, an Islamist group banned as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU.
They said they planned to form an interim unity government within five weeks and hold general elections within six months of a vote of confidence by the Palestinian parliament.
Earlier, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said president Abbas had chosen to seek peace with Hamas rather than Israel.
BDST: 2028 HRS, APR 23, 2014
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