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DFLP leader: Hamas obstructing unity talks in Cairo

Feb. 9, 2013 4:03 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 11, 2013 10:46 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian factions held a late-night meeting to discuss reconciliation but little was achieved, according to the secretary general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Nayef Hawatmeh said the meeting lasted until dawn Saturday but ended without reaching "tangible results."

"Everything is still hanging in the air. We haven't reached tangible results that will result in actual changes to end the split" between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Hawatmeh said.

Fatah and Hamas officials are meeting in Cairo to discuss the composition of a unity government and hammer out the details of a long-stalled 2011 reconciliation agreement.

A joint government to oversee fresh elections and reunite the West Bank and Gaza is a key component of the deal.

The last proposal for a joint government, in February 2012, soon fell apart after Hamas officials in Gaza refused to accept that Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas take the prime minister position.

According to Hawatmeh, this time Hamas is rejecting previously agreed elections rules.

“All 12 factions agreed, except Hamas members, on the need to have proportional representation for the parliament and presidential elections in addition to the Palestinian National Council and in the Diaspora”.

Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal, he said, insisted on the Islamic movement's previous opposition to such a system. It prefers a system prior to President Mahmoud Abbas' 2009 decree changing the law to a proportional system. The 2009 decree removed a percentage of seats reserved for each governorate.

Hawatmeh described Hamas' position on elections as "dangerous."
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