Hamas, Fatah chiefs agree to push for reconciliation

Hamas, Fatah chiefs agree to push for reconciliation

CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Hamas, Fatah chiefs agree to push for reconciliation

Egyptian leader Morsi (R) meets with Hamas leader Mashaal in Cairo. Morsi plays an active role in the reconciliation process of Hamas and Fatah. AFP photo

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal have agreed to expedite a stalled reconciliation deal between the rival factions, a Hamas official said yesterday.

The decision came at a meeting in Cairo that was the first in almost a year between the West Bank’s Fatah leader Abbas and Mashaal, who heads the Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip, and was aimed at ending years of bitter and sometimes deadly rivalry.

“The two parties agreed to call on all Palestinian factions to implement the reconciliation agreement,” said Hamas politburo member Izzat al-Rishq, who attended the gathering. It was held in a “very good and promising atmosphere,” he added.

Next meeting soon

Fatah and Hamas officials will meet soon to discuss further developments, Rishq said. “Fatah and Hamas agree on launching measures of reconciliation,” Egyptian state television quoted Yasser
Ali, spokesman for Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, as saying.

On their visit to Cairo, Abbas and Mashaal also held separate talks with Morsi. Mashaal and Abbas focused on implementing the Egypt-brokered April 2011 unity agreement aimed at ending years of infighting that was signed in May that year.

In his meeting with Abbas, Morsi discussed Palestinian reconciliation, the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the financial woes of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which Fatah dominates.

“Morsi promised to work towards lifting the Gaza blockade and helping Palestinians out of their financial crisis, lobbying donors and (our) Arab brothers,” Fatah’s lead negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed said.