Palestinian deal to end long split
President Abbas said agreement is a ‘final’ accord.
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. – AFP