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Fatah rejects Qatar's 'suspicious' call for reconciliation talks

Qatar's call for Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks is unnecessary because there is already a timetable for negotiations, says Fatah leader

Ahram Online , Sunday 31 Mar 2013
Qatar
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, centre, attends the opening session of the Arab League Summit in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, March 26, 2013 (Photo: AP)
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A senior member of Palestinian movement Fatah described a Qatari call for new reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo as “suspicious and unnecessary,” Egypt's state-run news agency MENA reported on Sunday. Hamas has reportedly welcomed the offer of talks.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah's central committee who is in charge of reconciliation efforts at Fatah, said that the reconciliation process with Hamas is moving forward through a "specified timetable."  

"Too much discussion about this issue is a waste of time; we are very optimistic about the reconciliation process as we are in constant contact with Egyptian officials," Al-Ahmed said.

The Fatah leader said he expected that talks with Hamas over a national government would take place at the same time as discussions over the updating of the voter registration list.

"We might just need 24 hours for government talks; President Mahmoud Abbas said before that he would issue two decrees, one calling for elections and other on the formation of a new government," he said.

At their first meeting in almost a year, Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal agreed in January to revive a stalled reconciliation deal between the rival Palestinian factions

 On their visits to Cairo, Abbas and Meshaal both held separate talks with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

"Morsi promised to work towards lifting the Gaza blockade and helping Palestinians out of their financial crisis, lobbying donors and our Arab brothers," Al-Ahmed told AFP at the time of the meeting.

Yousef Rizq, political advisor to Hamas’s Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Gaza, said Abbas wanted the election committee to end its work creating a "consensus government" and move towards holding elections, so as to activate the 2011 Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal.

The two Palestinian leaders also agreed to allow Hamas a degree of representation in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which has historically been led by Fatah.

The deal had been intended to pave the way for presidential and legislative elections by May 2012, but disagreements over who would head up a transitional government snarled implementation of the agreement.

In early 2012, Meshaal and Abbas signed a new deal in Doha, under which the latter would head the interim government. But Hamas leaders in Gaza rejected the arrangement, accusing Meshaal of taking decisions unilaterally.

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