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Fatah, Hamas to hold more unity talks

Feb. 9, 2014 8:17 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 11, 2014 11:10 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Fatah will hold meetings to discuss the implementation of a national reconciliation agreement on Sunday evening and Monday morning, members of both movements told Ma'an.

Fatah official Nabil Shaath and Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said they considered reconciliation a top priority, and that an earlier meeting between a Fatah delegation and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was a success.

"We realize that the road to freedom and independence is still a long one and needs a lot of work, and the first step is Palestinian unity," Shaath said.

"There cannot be a state without Gaza," he said.

Shaath also praised Hamas' recent decision to allow Fatah lawmakers to return to Gaza.

Al-Hayya echoed Shaath's statements.

"We at Hamas want to be united with Fatah and not interfere in Fatah internal issues," he said.

Al-Hayya said Hamas had sent a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas, saying "that we support him in his position of protecting our principles."

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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