Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hamas, Fatah agree on 'partnership' deal

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal yesterday hailed a new Palestinian "partnership" after talks to implement a landmark reconciliation deal.

"We want to assure our people and the Arab and Islamic world that we have turned a major new and real page in partnership on everything do to with the Palestinian nation," Meshaal said.

"There are no more differences between us now," added Abbas, who heads the Fatah movement. "We have agreed to work as partners with joint responsibility."

The leaders spoke after two hours of face-to-face talks in Cairo, the first since they inked the reconciliation deal in May.

The deal was hailed as the beginning of the end of years of bitter rivalry between the Palestinian movements, which boiled over in 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza after winning a surprise electoral victory.

But implementation of the agreement, which called for a transitional government of independents to pave the way for elections within a year, has proved tricky.

The composition of the temporary government, and who would head it, has proven particularly contentious, with Abbas seeking to keep on his current prime minister Salam Fayyad, over objections from Hamas.

Ahmed said the talks had produced broad agreement on the principles for choosing a consensus government, though reports have suggested there is continuing disagreement about its composition. They also discussed restructuring of factions' rival security forces, as well as changes to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which does not currently include Hamas.

Hamas, Fatah agree on 'partnership' deal