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Middle east

Fatah and Hamas hold reconciliation talks


Latest update : 2009-06-14

Feuding Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas meet on Sunday to pave the way for a new round of talks, two years after Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip.

AFP - The two main Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas convened meetings in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Sunday in a new bid to reconcile their differences, officials from both groups said.

"The reconciliation committee including Fatah and Hamas will convene today for the first time in Ramallah and Gaza to look for ways to ease tensions and pave the way for the next round of dialogue," Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, a senior Fatah leader in Gaza, told AFP.

"The committee is aiming to remove all obstacles before arriving at the announcement of a final agreement on the seventh of next month," he said.

The meetings come on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the Islamist Hamas movement's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, which split the Palestinians into hostile rival entities.

The two main movements have made several failed attempts at reconciliation, including holding a series of inconclusive talks in Cairo since the start of the year. They are set to meet in Egypt again on July 7.

Tensions between the two groups flared in recent weeks when clashes between Palestinian security forces and Hamas militants in the West Bank town of Qalqiliya killed nine people including a top Hamas commander.

"The committee will study how to resolve the issue of political detainees in the West Bank and halting the targeting of the resistance, the closing of institutions and media campaigns," senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said.

Since the Hamas takeover each group has accused its rival of launching waves of politically-motivated arrests, mistreating detainees and closing political institutions.

Palestinian human rights groups have slammed the conduct of both parties.


Date created : 2009-06-14