Fatah official: Egypt to open Rafah permanently after unity
Published Wednesday 14/05/2014 (updated) 15/05/2014 15:48
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A senior Fatah official told reporters Tuesday that Egypt would open the Rafah crossing permanently after the Palestinian unity government was set in place.
Following a meeting between Fatah and Hamas delegations in Gaza City, Azzam al-Ahmad told reporters that Egypt welcomed the establishment of a "legitimate," internationally recognized government in the Gaza Strip.
"Egypt is looking forward to Palestinian reconciliation and they encouraged us," al-Ahmad said.
Egyptian authorities will keep the crossing with Gaza open after the new government is installed, he added.
Al-Ahmad arrived in Gaza on Tuesday for what a Fatah spokesman said were meetings to select Palestinian leaders for the unity government.
The Fatah delegation at the meeting included Azzam al-Ahmad, Faysal Abu Shahla, and Zakariyya al-Agha. The Hamas delegation was made up of Mousa Abu Marzouq, Khalil al-Hayyah and Imad al-Alami.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said there was a positive atmosphere throughout Wednesday's meeting. He said the delegations would meet again in the afternoon.
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.