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Fatah: 5-week deadline for unity govt still in place

May 10, 2014 1:04 P.M. (Updated: May 11, 2014 9:29 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Fatah spokesman on Saturday said that the PLO-Hamas reconciliation deal was making the necessary progress to be implemented within five weeks of the April 23 agreement as planned.

Fayiz Abu Eita told Ma'an that senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad was set to visit the Gaza Strip "soon" to discuss the formation of the agreed-upon unity government.

Talks on the structure of the unity government are ongoing, Abu Eita said.

"There has been agreement to create a government of nonpartisan technocrats to be selected by President Abbas," he said, but would not provide names of those likely to be selected.

One a separate note, Abu Eita speculated that the upcoming unity government would improve Egypt-Gaza relations.

"Our (Egyptian) brothers are interested in a legitimate body, and they view President Mahmoud Abbas as symbol of Palestinian legitimacy. Thus, the Egyptian government will agree to deal with any entity ... which represents President Abbas who will also be prime minister in the coming unity government."

Abu Eita said this would likely lead to the opening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which has been perpetually closed with few exceptions following the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

Various Palestinian factions have said the five-week deadline provided time for the unity deal to collapse under US and Israeli pressure, and have warned against the pitfalls that led to the failure of previous agreements.

On April 23, the Fatah-led PLO and Hamas announced a national unity deal to end seven years of political division between the largest two Palestinian parties, with a national unity government to be set in place within five weeks.

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 unimplemented.
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