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Abbas to issue decrees on elections, unity govt

Feb. 12, 2013 5:58 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 14, 2013 10:52 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will issue decrees announcing elections and declaring a new unity government, a senior Fatah official said Tuesday.

At a news conference in Ramallah, Azzam al-Ahmad said the two decrees would be issued at the same time.

Abbas has already started consultations to form a unity government of technocrats, which will be sworn when the Central Elections Commission finishing updated the voter registry, by the end of March, al-Azzam told reporters.

"The meeting held in Cairo recently was dedicated only to discuss reactivating, developing and restructuring the Palestine Liberation Organization through electing members of the Palestinian National Council. Reconciliation was not addressed in the meeting," al-Ahmad said.

Certain issues in reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah will not be resolved until a united government is formed, al-Ahmad said, adding that factions signed an agreement in Cairo to cooperate with an interim government of technocrats which will prepare for elections.

The Cairo summit led to major achievements for the Public Freedom Committee, al-Ahmad said, and leaders agreed to end political arrests.

The Fatah leader hailed the registration of voters in the Gaza Strip, which began Monday, as "a major indicator of Palestinian unity."

The Hamas-run government in Gaza had previously barred the Central Elections Commission from updating the electoral roll in the enclave.

Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Cairo talks "did not achieve the breakthrough that we had hoped for, but they did not collapse."

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