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Egypt welcomes Fatah, Hamas deal in Doha

Feb. 6, 2012 8:42 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2012 1:54 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- The Egyptian ambassador to the PA on Monday welcomed the agreement between Fatah and Hamas leaders in Doha to form a unity government.

Yasser Othman told Ma'an that the talks in Qatar continue the process mediated by Egypt, which brokered a reconciliation deal between the rival factions in May.

Egypt will continue to have a fundamental role in Palestinian reconciliation, he said.

Meanwhile, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi applauded the agreement, which she called an "expression of commitment to bring about national unity and reconciliation in Palestine."

While the unity cabinet will only sit temporarily to pave the way until national elections, Ashrawi noted "some legislative steps have to be taken to ensure that such developments are consistent with the Basic Law."

She added: "It is our hope that this agreement will give the reconciliation process the momentum to succeed and that the international community will welcome such moves positively and constructively."

Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal agreed that Abbas will head the joint government at a meeting in the Qatari capital on Monday.

Fatah and Hamas agreed to end four years of bitter dispute and rival governments in May 2011, but the deal has repeatedly stalled as disagreements rumble on. The candidate to lead an interim unity government had been a key sticking point.
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