Hamas sets new terms for reconciliation with Fatah (REUTERS) By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA 02/23/12 4:52pm EST)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - Hamas has set new terms for implementing a reconciliation
deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbasīs rival Fatah group, an
official said on Thursday, dimming even further chances the accord
will be put into effect.
Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, Hamasīs political chief in exile, agreed in
Qatar this month to form a unity government led by the Western-backed
president but a Fatah official said after talks in Cairo divisions
within Hamas were holding up progress.
"The internal splits within Hamas have cast a shadow on the meetings
and Hamas is not able to implement the agreement signed in Doha. Its
leaders have asked to delay discussions on forming the government,"
said the official who declined to be named.
Soon after the Doha agreement was signed the Islamist groupīs
leadership outside the Gaza Strip was criticized by those inside the
Hamas-ruled enclave, particularly the dealīs call for Abbas to serve
as prime minister as well as president.
At an internal meeting chaired by Meshaal in Cairo on Wednesday,
Hamas officials united behind new demands, said a Palestinian
official involved in the talks. The terms seemed certain to be
rejected by Abbas.
"Hamas demanded to keep the key ministries in the new government,
including the ministry of interior," said the official. "It also
demanded no change in the structure of security services in the Gaza
The interior ministry oversees the Hamas-run security services, and
Palestinian political analyst Samir Awad said the new terms proved
the group "was not prepared to abandon control of Gaza," territory it
seized from Fatah in fighting in 2007.
Abbas has been seeking a unity government staffed by independents and
technocrats to ensure it would not be boycotted by the West, which
donates essential funds to his Palestinian Authority and refuses to
deal with Hamas over it hostility toward Israel.
Other demands that emerged from the Cairo meeting included naming a
Gaza-based deputy to Abbas and making his appointment as prime
minister conditional on a vote of confidence in the Palestinian
The legislature has not been in session since the collapse five years
ago of a short-lived Palestinian unity government.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Editing by Jeffrey
Heller and Ori Lewis) (Đ Thomson Reuters 2012. 02/23/12)
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