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Hamas: Reconciliation committees will start in September

Aug. 12, 2011 11:55 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 13, 2011 12:02 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said Friday that committees established to progress the reconciliation deal between his party and Fatah would not begin work until September.

On Monday, Fatah deputy Ashraf Jomah said the commissioners and committee mechanisms would be completed within a week, to complete their work by early September.

But Radwan told a Ma'an correspondent in Gaza that only the issue of freeing political prisoners, imprisoned during the years of rivalry by factions in their respective territories, is set for conclusion by the end of the month.

The committees -- agreed in a Sunday meeting of the factions in Cairo -- will tackle outstanding conditions of unity including issuing passports, social reconciliation and reopening institutions shut down in Gaza and the West Bank following the 2007 infighting that divided the Palestinian territories under separate governments.

The next meeting in the Egyptian capital is scheduled for after Eid Al-Fitr, the holiday closing the holy month of Ramadan.

Radwan said Sunday's meeting had agreed the committees to begin work after Eid.

The Hamas leader added that the groups will also also tackle the composition of the PLO and its location, as well as the appointment of a new government.

Implementation of the unity agreement signed in Cairo in May has stalled over the establishment of a unity government to unite administration of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Radwan on Friday reiterated the Hamas position, that the party will not accept current Ramallah-based Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to lead the unity cabinet.
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