UNITED Force: Palestinian Authority forces take control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt –
Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement on Thursday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with President Mahmud Abbas calling it a “final” accord.
The Sultanate welcomed the final agreement. The statement by the Foreign Ministry hoped the reconciliation agreement support the efforts of national unity to obtain all legitimate rights of Palestine. The statement also praised the role of Egypt for the success of this historic reconciliation. Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by December 1, according to a statement from Egypt’s government. Abbas welcomed the deal in comments to AFP and said he considered it a “final agreement to end the division” — though many details remain to be resolved and previous reconciliation attempts have repeatedly failed.
It was signed in Cairo by new Hamas deputy leader Salah al Aruri and Azzam al Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation for the talks, at the headquarters of Egypt’s intelligence service, which oversaw the negotiations. Celebrations broke out in the Gaza Strip after the announcement of the deal, with residents waving flags of Egypt, Palestine, Fatah and Hamas.
Negotiations are now expected to be held on forming a unity government, with the various Palestinian political movements invited to another meeting in Cairo on November 21. An official from Abbas’ Fatah movement said the Palestinian president was planning to soon travel to the Gaza Strip as part of the unity bid in what would be his first visit in a decade. Sanctions taken by Abbas against Hamas-controlled Gaza will also soon be lifted, the Fatah official said. The agreement would see Palestinian Authority forces take control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
One of the key sticking points will be the fate of Hamas’ 25,000-strong military wing. Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognised Israel, unlike the Abbas-led PLO. — AFP