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Mashaal: Reconciliation must follow democratic elections

Dec. 9, 2012 5:57 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 11, 2012 11:11 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Free and fair Palestinian elections must be followed by partnership and cooperation between factions, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said Sunday.

The Hamas leader made the comments during a public meeting of Palestinian political factions, civil society organizations and bereaved families in Gaza.

"Our brothers in Fatah, you started before us, and we are not your replacement but rather your partners. Old disagreements will never come back," Mashaal said, adding that reconciliation is a necessity.

"But reconciliation should not be at the expense of firm Palestinian principles," the Hamas chief stressed, adding that Egyptian sponsored reconciliation talks will take place soon.

There is much to be achieved for Palestine, Mashaal said, urging Palestinians to "prepare for liberation and stick to resistance and Jihad."

Hamas have reached out to Fatah after an eight-day assault on Gaza by Israeli forces, which was regarded locally as ending in victory for Hamas' military wing.

The parties have been locked in a bitter rivalry since Hamas won national elections in 2006. Amid worldwide tussles over allowing the party to take the reigns of government, Hamas ousted their Fatah rivals from the Gaza Strip the following year.

Since then, Gaza has been ruled by Hamas and the West Bank government controlled by Fatah.
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