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Palestinian factions agree to speed up reconciliation

JTA

May 21, 2012 | 10:16 am

Palestinian political movements Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to move the reconciliation process forward.

The agreement was signed late Sunday night in Cairo, the Palestinian Ma’an news service reported, citing Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad.

Fatah is the party of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. The terrorist organization Hamas heads the government in Gaza.

Under the deal, the Palestinian Elections Commission will begin its work in Gaza later this month, followed by Abbas working to form a consensus government. The new Cabinet should be agreed on within ten days of Abbas beginning his consultations, Ma’an reported.

The unity government is set to operate for six months, after which a date for elections will be set.

The deal signed Sunday was brokered by Egypt.

Last week, Abbas swore in a new Cabinet, the second reshuffle of Cabinet positions since it was formed in 2007 under the leadership of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. In the new government, Fayyad relinquished his finance minister portfolio to another political independent, former university president Nabil Qassis.

The Hamas government in Gaza decried the move, calling it illegitimate and in conflict with the agreement inked in March in Doha to establish a unity government jointly decided by Fatah and Hamas and led by Abbas.

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