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Fatah, Hamas ready to implement unity agreement

April 23, 2014 3:00 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2014 1:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions have reached agreement over the terms of a reconciliation deal and will announce the details later in the day, Palestinian officials told Ma'an Wednesday.

Presidential and parliamentary elections, the formation of a unity government, and the restructuring of the PLO are three of the key issues to be implemented simultaneously, officials told Ma'an.

The parties also agreed that both Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the occupied West Bank would release prisoners detained for their political affiliation.

The Freedoms Committee, one of several bodies created to follow-up on the 2011 Egypt-brokered unity deal, will determine the numbers of prisoners to be released on both sides.

Hamas and PLO officials have agreed to form a unity government within five weeks that will be headed by either President Mahmoud Abbas or former Deputy Prime Minister of the 2006 unity government Nasser al-Din al-Shaer, who is a member of Hamas.

Abbas will issue a presidential decree announcing dates for presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as elections for the Palestinian National council.

Elections will take place within six months, officials said.

The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won 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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