'Independents' to lead next Palestinian post-reconciliation govt

Ahram Online , Friday 18 Jan 2013

Member of Hamas Political Bureau says 'independent' figures from will create a national Palestinian government tasked with managing upcoming legislative and presidential elections during Thursday talks held in Cairo

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation
Mahmoud Abbas (center right) and Khaled Mashaal speak to reporters after talks in Cairo in 23 February, 2012 (Photo: AP)

 

Ezzat Al-Rashak, member of Hamas Political Bureau, said Friday that the Palestinian Islamist movement has agreed with rival political party Fatah to form a cabinet of "independents",  during Thursday reconciliation talks in Cairo.  

According to MENA, Al-Rashak revealed that the long-awaited "unity" cabinet has been chiefly assigned the task of organising the next legislative and presidential elections, if held.

"Fatah and Hamas agreed on ending the period of political division; all indicators on the ground signify the complete readiness of both movements to implement the reconciliation deal," he said.

"This is the last opportunity given to us by the Palestinian people to sort out our problems, and we should take advantage of it."

Fatah, the political party of Palestinian President which runs the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules Gaza, agreed on Thursday to revive their long-stalled reconciliation accord by the end of this month, the head of the Fatah delegation told AFP Thursday.

"Fatah and Hamas agreed at a meeting in Cairo on Thursday between delegations of the two movements on a timetable for implementing Palestinian reconciliation," Azzam Al-Ahmad said by telephone from the Egyptian capital.

"We are in agreement on the mechanisms and timetable to end the division, the most important being the resumption of operations by the Central Election Commission (CEC) in the Gaza Strip on the 30th of the month at the latest and afterwards in the West Bank," he said.

He added that there would also be a renewal of talks on forming a non-partisan transitional government ahead of elections.

Ahmad said that the sides also agreed to a session on 9 February of the provisional governing body of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), charged with bringing non-member Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the organisation.

The two groups reached an Egyptian-sponsored unity agreement in April 2011, although the deal's main articles have not been applied so far.

In December, leaders of Hamas and Fatah called for the renewal of reconciliation attempts that have been stalled for more than one year.

In Gaza, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, in his first-ever trip to the coastal territory, said it was time for the bitter opponents to make good on the deal they signed in Cairo in 2011.

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.

However, the office of Israel's Premier Benjamin Netanyahu issued a press statement last week in which he had harshly criticised the top-level talks between both Palestinian leaders.

"This is not the behaviour of somebody seeking peace; Abu Mazen [Abbas] gave an embrace to the head of a terror organisation who only a month ago stated that Israeli should be wiped from the map," the Lebanese Daily Star website quoted Netanyahu as stating.

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