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Hamas 'would axe key body to promote Palestinian unity'

AFP , Tuesday 12 Sep 2017
 Ismail Haniyeh
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (Photo:Reuters)
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Hamas chief Ismail Haniya has told Egyptian officials that he would dissolve a key body causing tension with rival Palestinian faction Fatah, an official with the Islamist movement said Tuesday.

In March, Hamas announced the formation of a new "administrative committee" seen as a rival government to the internationally recognised administration led by president Mahmud Abbas.

Hamas has denied the committee was a rival government.

Since the committee was formed, Abbas has sought to squeeze Hamas, reducing electricity payments for the Gaza Strip which the movement controls, among other measures.

The Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Haniya told the head of Egyptian intelligence Khaled Fawzy and other officials in Cairo on Monday that they would dissolve the council without

preconditions to make way for a unity government with Fatah.

Hamas, he said, wanted Egypt to "succeed in achieving Palestinian reconciliation, and I think there are no arguments now for Fatah to disrupt Egypt's efforts".

Hamas has run Gaza for a decade since seizing control of the territory from Abbas's secular Fatah party, which leads the government in the West Bank.

Multiple attempts at reconciliation between the two movements have failed.

A Hamas statement published late Monday said that during talks in Egypt the Hamas delegation had "emphasised its readiness to hold negotiations with Fatah in Cairo immediately to conclude a (unity) agreement".

Fatah spokesman in Gaza Fayez Abu Aita told AFP Abbas had made it clear any stopping of the measures against Hamas was "linked to a solution for the administration committee", as well as allowing the Abbas-led government to exercise control in Gaza.

Haniya's current visit to Cairo is his first since his election as Hamas leader in May.

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