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Palestinian factions meet in Cairo to discuss implementation of reconciliation deal

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Nov 2017
Fatah's Senior official Azzam al-Ahmad (R)and Saleh al-Arouri of Hamas sign a reconciliation deal at the Egyptian intelligence services headquarters in Cairo on October 12, 2017(Photo: AFP)

Leading Palestinian factions are meeting in Cairo on Tuesday to follow up on the implementation of a Palestinian reconciliation agreement brokered by Egypt on 12 October, mainly between Palestine’s two major groups Fatah and Hamas.

Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed said in Cairo that the current round of meetings aims to discuss the mechanisms of implementing the deal and pushing forward the Palestinian reconciliation process, despite the “slow pace” in its implementation.

On 1 November, Hamas handed over security control on the Palestinian side of the Egypt-Gaza border to the Palestinian Authority in accordance with the agreement.

The deal states that Hamas is to hand over full control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority by 1 December.

“Some parties and external powers are creating obstacles to reconciliation; we hope that our consecutive meetings will help us overcome these obstacles,” Al-Ahmed said.

Al-Ahmed added that he hopes the pace of implementing the deal will be sped up during the current round of meetings in Cairo.

Al-Ahmed added that Palestinian presidential and legislative elections, security organisation, and social reconciliation are all set to be discussed after a complete handover of power to the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, which is currently under Hamas control.

On Monday, Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the UN Security Council that despite the challenges, the reconciliation “must not be allowed to fail.”

Mladenov warned of another “devastating conflict” if reconciliation fails.

The Cairo talks come amid a rise in US-Palestinian tensions over the US threatening to close the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is seen internationally as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, if the organisation does not commit to “serious peace talks with Israel.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently determined that the Palestinians have violated a rarely invoked provision in US law that calls for the closure of the PLO’s office in Washington if they act against Israel in the International Criminal Court.

The PLO threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Washington if its office is closed.

Fatah and Hamas have been at a political deadlock since Hamas gained control of Gaza strip in 2007.

The two groups have since operated separated administrations; with Hamas in Gaza, and Fatah, the leading member-faction in the PLO, in Ramallah and the occupied West Bank.

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