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Head of Fatah reconciliation team to visit Gaza
Published Tuesday 07/01/2014 (updated) 08/01/2014 10:00
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(MaanImages/file)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An official from Fatah's reconciliation team is due to visit the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to discuss progress on unity talks, Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Shtayeh said.

"Azzam al-Ahmad and I met the head of Hamas' political bureau Khalid Mashaal about 15 days ago in the Qatari capital Doha and discussed the reconciliation file," Shtayeh said at a conference organized by the Press House in Gaza.

"We are prepared for reconciliation and to end the division. Ismail Haniyeh is putting a lot of effort in the reconciliation issue, and the steps he announced yesterday were in the right direction. We welcome them and hope they continue."

Hamas' proposals include organizing elections in 6 months, which Fatah would agree to, the official added.

On Monday, Haniyeh reached out to Fatah, saying its members would be allowed back into Gaza in efforts to promote Palestinian reconciliation

Haniyeh spoke via telephone to Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas in October, stressing the need for reconciliation and "a return to national unity."

Longtime tensions between Hamas and Fatah boiled over in a week of fighting in 2007 that left the Islamist movement in charge of the impoverished coastal strip.

The fighting came a year and half after Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian general elections, leading to a Western boycott of the government.

Since the takeover both movements have launched tit-for-tat crackdowns on their rivals in the areas under their control.

The two sides have made repeated attempts to heal the rift, most recently by signing an Egyptian-brokered deal in 2011 in which they pledged to set up an interim government of independents to pave the way for new elections.

The agreement has never been implemented.
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