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Abbas calls Haniyeh to discuss unity deal

Aug. 11, 2011 5:08 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 12, 2011 10:52 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh received a phone call Thursday from President Mahmoud Abbas, and the two discussed recent developments on a unity deal signed in May, officials said.

Abbas stressed during the call the necessity to keep moving forward on wrapping up the agreement, officials in Gaza said. Abbas also affirmed his intention to make progress on political prisoners and passports issues.

Haniyeh reiterated the importance of maintaining a "positive atmosphere" around the process in order not to go backwards. He also called for implementing elements of the reconciliation deal on the ground.

Abbas also congratulated Haniyeh on the occasion of Ramadan.

On Wednesday, a Hamas delegation headed by Khalid Mashaal visited the Qatari capital Doha to update the emir of Qatar on developments in Palestine including the reconciliation file.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al-Thani hosted Hamas leaders Mousa Abu Marzouq, deputy politburo chief Izzat Ar-Rishiq, Muhammad Nasr and Khalil Al-Hayyah.

Fatah parliamentary deputy Ashraf Jomah said Monday that four committees would begin work soon on outstanding areas in the agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

Jomah told Ma'an the committees would tackle prisoners, passports, social reconciliation and the institutions shut down in Gaza and the West Bank following the 2007 infighting that divided the Palestinian territories.

The parties brought a formal end to division by agreeing a reconciliation deal in Cairo on May 4, but implementation of several facets of the deal have been held up by ongoing tensions.

A unity government of independent figures has been delayed because of a leadership row. Hamas rejected Fatah's nomination of Prime Minister in Ramallah Salam Fayyad to lead the government.

The PA announced in July that it would hold municipal elections in the West Bank in October, and blamed Hamas for blocking efforts to prepare for the vote in Gaza.

But Sunday's meeting was described as "very successful" by Fatah delegation head Azzam Al-Ahmad, while Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said agreements reflected "the seriousness of both parties."
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