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Hamas, Fatah to meet Feb. 27, official says

Feb. 17, 2013 10:58 A.M. (Updated: March 5, 2013 2:53 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Delegations from Hamas and Fatah will meet in Cairo later this month to discuss the formation of a new government, a senior Hamas leader said Sunday.

Hamas' deputy politburo chief Mousa Abu Marzouq said in a statement that the factions will meet on Feb. 27 to discuss mechanisms for formatting a unity government.

Hamas official Khalil al-Hayeh said Saturday that the unity government will address the most important reconciliation issues, including holding elections and reforming security forces.

The long-stalled agreement made some progress this week as the Central Elections Commission updated voter records in the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2005.

The voter registration process is due to be completed by Feb. 18 and, in theory, an election could then be called three months later.

The last parliamentary vote was held in 2006, when Hamas swept to power, ending the dominance of Fatah. The following civil war split Palestinians both geographically and politically.

Both the parliament and the president's terms have expired during the electoral impasse.

Palestinian officials said last week that recent reconciliation meetings in Cairo had fallen short of expectations, with some questioning whether either faction had the will to end the political division.

A deal was signed in May 2011 to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, but political factions have repeatedly failed to reach an agreement concerning its practical implementation.
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