Pales­tinian deal to end long split

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

Pres­i­dent Ab­bas said agree­ment is a ‘fi­nal’ ac­cord.

Gaza City

Ri­val Pales­tinian fac­tions Ha­mas and Fatah reached an agree­ment yes­ter­day on end­ing a decade-long split fol­low­ing talks me­di­ated by Egypt in Cairo, with Pres­i­dent Mah­mud Ab­bas call­ing it a “fi­nal” ac­cord.

Ab­bas wel­comed the deal in com­ments and said he con­sid­ered it a “fi­nal agree­ment to end the di­vi­sion” – though many de­tails re­main to be re­solved and pre­vi­ous rec­on­cil­i­a­tion at­tempts have re­peat­edly failed.

Ha­mas leader Is­mail Haniya’s of­fice said in a state­ment, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails, that “an agree­ment was reached today be­tween Ha­mas and Fatah un­der Egyp­tian spon­sor­ship”.

An of­fi­cial from Ab­bas’ Fatah move­ment said the Pales­tinian pres­i­dent was now plan­ning to travel to the Gaza Strip within a month as part of the unity bid in what would be his first visit in a decade.

Sanc­tions taken by Ab­bas against Ha­mas-con­trolled Gaza will also soon be lifted, the Fatah of­fi­cial said.

The deal in­cludes 3 000 mem­bers of the West Bank-based Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity’s po­lice force re­de­ploy­ing to Gaza, a mem­ber of the ne­go­ti­at­ing team said.

The fig­ure is, how­ever, a frac­tion of the more than 20 000 po­lice of­fi­cers em­ployed sep­a­rately by Ha­mas.

Another party to the ne­go­ti­a­tions said the agree­ment would see Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity forces take con­trol of the Rafah bor­der cross­ing be­tween Gaza and Egypt.

He added that all Pales­tinian fac­tions would be­gin wider ne­go­ti­a­tions on the for­ma­tion of a unity gov­ern­ment in the com­ing two weeks. –

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