Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas say progress made in reconciliation deal

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas say progress made in reconciliation deal

Hamas and Fatah have reached a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, Reuters reports citing the Palestinian Information Centre.

"Ismail Haniyeh [Hamas chief] has just announced that an agreement was reached dawn on Thursday between Fatah and Hamas movements under Egyptian auspices", Taher al-Nunu, Haniyeh's media advisor said in a press statement released early Thursday morning.

Palestinian sources said conquest and Hamas will organise a press conference on details of agreement at noon.

Meanwhile, Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh told Egyptian television a day later that while his party would not cede control of its weapons, it would be prepared to make joint decisions with Fatah about when and how to use them.

A landslide victory for Hamas in 2006 sparked clashes between the two groups, leading to the dissolution of a tenuous coalition government.

"We want to extend the rule of law to Gaza as [has been done] in the West Bank", Qawasmeh said in a statement.

The Western-backed mainstream Fatah party lost control of Gaza to Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the West and Israel, in fighting in 2007.

A Palestinian man and his daughter walk past a graffiti reading in Arabic "Division" in Gaza City, on September 17, 2017, after Hamas announced it had agreed to steps toward resolving a decade-long split with the Fatah movement and was ready to hold elections.

The move was a major reversal for Hamas and was partially prompted by the group's fears of potential financial and political isolation after its main donor Qatar suffered a major diplomatic crisis with key allies.

The deal would see Hamas, which has the most powerful armed Palestinian faction with an estimated 25,000 well-equipped fighters who have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

He said the Palestinian Authority would begin taking control of Gaza's administrative affairs and "security responsibilities".

But Tayseer Nasrallah, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Reuters: "There are hard challenges and it will take time to overcome them".

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