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Hamas agrees to join unity government ahead of elections

Dec. 17, 2013 12:16 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 19, 2013 4:05 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Hamas has officially notified Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas of the movement's decision to join a national unity government which will prepare for upcoming presidential and parliamentarian elections, sources told Ma’an on Tuesday.

The sources, privy to the details, said that Abbas had previously received two phone calls from Hamas' chief Khalid Mashaal and from prime minister of the Hamas-run government in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh.

The two allegedly confirmed to Abbas that Hamas had agreed to join a national unity government with Fatah.

The sources pointed out that Hamas requested that the national unity government serve for six months instead of three as agreed in the 2012 Doha Agreement, one of numerous attempts at reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions.

Abbas might ask current Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah to lead the unity government, sources said.

The Palestinian president will issue the needed presidential decrees announcing elections after attending a meeting of Arab countries' foreign ministers scheduled on Dec. 21, sources added.

The two main rival Palestinian parties have been on cold terms since 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of the West Bank.
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