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West Bank team to visit Gaza for reconciliation talks ‘soon‘


April 04, 2014
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A multi-faction delegation form the West Bank-based Palestinian factions will head to the Gaza Strip in the near future for talks with the ruling Hamas with the aim of achieving reconciliation, a Palestinian official said Thursday.

"A delegation formed by the Palestinian leadership will head to the Gaza Strip as soon as possible to hold talks with Hamas in order to implement [previous] reconciliation agreements," Mustafa Barghouthi, head of Palestine National Initiative Party, told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Bargouthi himself will be part in the delegation along with other Palestinian figures, including Azzam al-Ahmed, a leading member in Fatah movement who heads the reconciliation file.

Al-Barghouthi went on to say that the delegation contacted Gaza's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh by phone and that the latter welcomed the upcoming visit.

"I believe talks have stumbled due to internal and external pressures," al-Barghouthi said, adding that the delegation's visit is "important" at this timing amid stumbling peace talks with Israel.

"However," he asserted, "implementing the agreements will not be difficult in the presence of true willingness to end divisions and rivalry over an authority which lies under occupation."

In 2007, Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip routed troops loyal to Fatah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and seized control of the territory.

Continued conflict between Hamas and Fatah, the latter of which holds the presidency of the Palestinian Authority, obliged Hamas to set up its own government in Gaza, while Fatah did the same in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

In 2011, the two factions hammered out a reconciliation deal under Egyptian sponsorship. The following year, the two sides agreed to form a unity government headed up by Abbas to pave the way for parliamentary polls.

The terms of the agreement, however, were never implemented.

Despite their vast differences, particularly over the thorny issue of peace talks with Israel, both governments maintain considerable coordination, especially in the education and health sectors. 

 

This article was originally published by World Bulletin

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