Palestinian Reconciliation Advances in Cairo

Article Summary
The Cairo dialogue produced a time frame and plan for further steps toward forming a consensus government, writes Jihane al-Husseini.

Egyptian-sponsored talks between leading Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas concluded yesterday after the two delegations met, headed by Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas's deputy political bureau chief, and Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah official. “They agreed to hold a meeting for the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) leadership on Feb. 9 and to resume the work of the Central Elections Committee in the West Bank and the Gaza strip no later than the 30th of this month," Abu Marzouk told Al-Hayat after the talks. "Talks to form the government should also begin on the 30th of this month. The same applies to the committees for public freedoms and reconciliation."

Marzouk explained that on Feb. 9 the electoral law will be passed, and a National Council committee for elections held abroad will be formed. The regions where elections will be held will be specified, as will the specific dates when the committees will carry out their work. He reiterated that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will head the national unity government to be formed in coordination with all forces, but said the security situation had not been addressed. “We dealt with issues related to the elections, public freedoms, the reconciliation committee and the government,” he added.

“The atmosphere was positive, mirroring that of the latest meetings between President Abbas and Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal. It was agreed that a PLO leadership meeting would be held on Feb. 9 to activate the organization. The activation committee will endorse the National Council’s electoral law and a committee for the national council elections held abroad will be formed,” declared Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the political bureau. The Central Elections Committee will be assigned to register voters inside the country for the National Council elections. Rishq said that the committee will resume its work in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank at the end of this month at the latest.

Regarding the government committee, Rishq said that “the consultations between both parties will begin by the month’s end at the latest, while the committees of public freedoms and of reconciliation will resume their work in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.” A higher committee with both Fatah and Hamas, and headed by Egypt, will regularly meet to ensure the reconciliation agreement is executed and to resolve any problems that hinder its implementation.

In the same context, Ahmad told Al-Hayat that the parties agreed to cease inflammatory speeches that might damage the fragile atmosphere, negatively influence reconciliation and damage efforts to end divisiveness. He explained that any infractions would be referred to the Egyptian sponsor.

In an interview with AFP, Ahmad explained that both delegations agreed in Cairo to “a time frame to implement the Palestinian reconciliation agreement and do away with divisions.”

“We approved the mechanisms and schedules to put an end to divisions, the most significant of which was to resume the work of the Elections Committee in the Gaza strip and in the West Bank by the month’s end at the latest,” he explained.

Found in: palestinian elections, palestinian, hamas, fatah, elections, egypt

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