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Hamas rejects reconciliation deadline

July 17, 2013 5:46 A.M. (Updated: July 20, 2013 12:20 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas on Wednesday rejected Fatah's deadline for reconciliation and criticized its rival's "selectivity" in implementing national unity.

On Tuesday, Fatah official Mohammad Shtayyeh said Aug. 14 was Hamas' "last chance" for reconciliation. Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas is set to reform the Palestinian Authority government on Aug. 14, following the resignation of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in June.

Yousef Rizqa, the political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, swiftly dismissed the deadline.

"Shtayyeh's statements on reconciliation are worthless," Rizqa told Ma'an.

Rizqa said there had been no communication between the leaders of Hamas and Fatah, noting that Abbas is "busy in meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry" and has not been available to discuss national unity.

At a meeting in Cairo on May 14, Fatah and Hamas agreed on a three-month deadline for establishing a unity government of technocrats and setting an elections date.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Fatah had not met its obligations in the latest reconciliation deal.

"August 14 is meaningless unless Fatah takes the initiative and really commits to doing its part in all the files," Abu Zuhri said.

Abbas dissolved the last unity government in June 2007. Since then, Fatah has dominated the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas has led a separate government in Gaza.

Repeated rounds of talks and reconciliation agreements have failed to reunite the Palestinians under a single government.
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