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Fatah, Hamas shift blame for stalled talks

Feb. 2, 2012 10:27 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 3, 2012 3:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Efforts to implement reconciliation measures are being delayed, with both Fatah and Hamas officials trading claims of intransigence.

In an interview with Ma'an on Wednesday evening, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muheisin said that preparations for an Arab League committee meeting and internal discussions have delayed talks between President Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal.

Muheisin criticized Hamas' declaration that reconciliation efforts were postponed, stating that the Quartet is putting pressure on the Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations with Israel.

He urged Hamas to allow the elections committee to work freely in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian priority would be to go back to the United Nations, the Fatah official said, adding that there is no benefit to negotiating with Israel.

Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan responded by telling Ma'an that a new government has not been announced yet because both parties were awaiting the results of the Amman meetings.

Mashaal and Abbas were scheduled to meet on Feb. 2. A new date has not yet been confirmed.

Radwan blamed Fatah for postponing the meeting and for not setting a new date.

“We didn’t feel that Fatah is doing any progress or any efforts in this case,” he added, stating that Hamas is dedicated to national unity.

Abbas said that the Palestinian leadership will discuss the recent exploratory talks in Amman at a follow up Arab League committee meeting on Feb. 4.

The reconciliation deal set out a path to elections within a year, and the appointment of an interim government to unite both territories. But the parties could not agree on a candidate to lead the unity government.

According to Palestinian electoral law, President Abbas must issue a decree three months before elections are held.
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