Hamas and Fatah announce reconciliation agreement in Cairo

Haniyeh Hamdallah

According to the agreement, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority will resume all governing responsibilities in Gaza no later than December 1. Cairo also thanked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over his real willing to end the division.

With Hamas in control, conditions in Gaza deteriorated.

The most contentious question between the rival Palestinian factions that announced a reconciliation deal Thursday is still up in the air.

Mr Abbas will visit Gaza in "less than a month", a Fatah official told Agence France-Presse. Abbas has said he would only return to Gaza if Hamas hands over power, while Hamas has said the military wing is not up for discussion.

The agreement is believed to include transfering administration of the border crossing between Gaza strip and Egypt to a unity government.

The same source, who preferred anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media, said Hamas and Fatah had also agreed to allow the unity government to assume full responsibility for all of Gaza's border crossings by November 1.

One of the key issues has been punitive measures taken by Abbas against Gaza in recent months, including reducing electricity payments that left the territory's residents with only a few hours of power a day.

A split between Palestine's two major forces, Fatah and Hamas, occurred after the parliamentary elections in Palestine in 2006 when Hamas won.

During this period, the source added, the Ramallah government will pay all outstanding salaries owed to Gaza's public servants.

Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh announced Thursday morning that his organization and Fatah have reached a reconciliation agreement.

Since early this week, Egypt's capital has hosted direct meetings of emissaries from two factions, which ended in signing the agreement.

Al-Ahmed highly appreciated the Egyptian role and keenness to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, stressing that Egypt is the sponsor of the Arab national security, including the Palestinian security.

Egypt has previously attempted to help Hamas and Fatah create a united government for Gaza and the West Bank.

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