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Hamas, Fatah resume talks secretly

Jan. 6, 2014 3:29 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 12, 2014 11:08 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Fatah have secretly resumed reconciliation talks in an attempt to finalize an agreement, a Fatah spokesman said on Monday.

Ahmad Assaf said in a statement received by Ma'an that Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, who is in charge of reconciliation talks, spoke on Sunday with his Hamas counterpart Mousa Abu Marzouq.

The two followed up on discussions that began in Doha between al-Ahmad and Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal.

Assaf's statement emerged following news reports claiming that Hamas and Fatah have already reached agreement on a unity government. He made it clear that no agreement had yet been reached as of yet, while stressing that efforts are ongoing.

"Our hearts are open and our hands are extended for national unity," he said.

The division between the two Palestinian factions began in 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 parts of the occupied West Bank.

The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements -- one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha -- which have as of yet been entirely unimplemented.
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