Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Hamas says progress made in Palestinian reconciliation talks

People gather as the convoy of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah arrives to take control of Gaza from Hamas in the northern part of the territory Hamas announces reconciliation deal with Palestinian rival Fatah
Sammy Stanley | 12 October, 2017, 10:52

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have reached agreement on aspects of their reconciliation bid during talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo this week, Hamas said on Thursday.

"Fatah and Hamas reached an agreement at dawn today upon a generous Egyptian sponsorship", Haniyeh said in a statement.

Al-Nuno gave no further details on the content of the deal.

Hamas and Fatah officials held two days of talks in Cairo this week about a Palestinian Authority return to Gaza.

The negotiations on Egyptian interim finder began last Tuesday.

Cairo is now leading efforts to heal a political split between Gaza-based Hamas group and the West Bank-based Fatah movement. In 2014, Fatah and Hamas agreed to a national reconciliation government, but Hamas' shadow government continued to rule the Gaza Strip despite the deal.

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Struggling with the fallout from an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade since 2007, Hamas has found it increasingly hard to govern or provide basic services to Gaza's 2 million residents.

An Egyptian source close to the talks said intelligence chief Khaled Fawzi had followed the talks closely. Meanwhile, Azzam Ahmad, one of the leaders of the Fatah delegation, told Reuters that while the negotiations would include the government offices in Gaza, the main focus would be on the topic of security in Gaza due to its controversial nature.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years.

It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has faced deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Last week, Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers officially took control of government departments in the territory. Israel's enmity with Hamas means greater unity with Fatah is unlikely to help any future efforts for a peace deal with Israel.

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