Fatah, Hamas convene in Cairo over forming cabinet

08:22, May 17, 2011      

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by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly

Leaders of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Islamic Hamas movement, will convene in Cairo later on Monday to agree on implementing a reconciliation pact reached between them on May 4, official sources said.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the two movements' leaders will convene in Cairo for two days to discuss the implementation of the reconciliation agreement, mainly forming the national unity government, the rebuilding of the security apparatuses and preparations for general elections.

According to the agreement signed in Cairo on May 4, the first step is to form a government that includes independent technocrat figures to prepare within one year to hold the municipal, legislative and presidential elections, in addition to resolving the files of security and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The sources told Xinhua that Azzam el-Ahmad will chair Fatah delegation and Musa Abu Marzooq will chair Hamas delegation, adding that they are optimistic that the two movements would agree soon on the implementation of the agreement.

"There is an atmosphere of confidence between the two movements before they hold their first meeting in Cairo over the implementation of the agreement," said the sources, adding "Monday 's meeting will be attended by senior Egyptian security officials. We expect a deal today."

Azzam el-Ahmed, head of Fatah delegation, told the Voice of Palestine Radio that Cairo meetings will focus on three major subjects, namely forming the new national unity government, agreeing on a meeting of the committee to reform the PLO and the practical measures to treat the consequences of the division.

"In relation to treating the consequences of division, we will discuss preparing a time schedule that includes the release of political prisoners in both the West Bank and Gaza, unifying the official institutions in both areas and achieving the social peace, " said el-Ahmad.

Asked about forming the new government, he said that the subject of the nominees for the premier and ministers posts "won't be decided until Fatah and Hamas finish their debates with other factions." He stressed that the new government will be the government of the president in accordance to the law.

According to the reconciliation agreement, the new government won't include leaders of the two movements or other factions, and it won't be involved in politics. "The main job of the government is to prepare for elections and to be in charge of Gaza Strip reconstruction," said el-Ahmed.

Earlier on Monday, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar had told the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi daily that according to the reconciliation agreement, "the new national unity government will not be committed to the political platform of President Abbas."

Meanwhile, delegations of Fatah and Hamas are scheduled to meet later this month in Moscow, Palestinian sources said, adding that the two sides' delegations will stay in Moscow for four days to continue their talks on implementing the reconciliation agreement.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a PLO member had earlier said in a press statement that the factions of the PLO agreed to nominate current Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to be the prime minister of the new national unity government that will be formed after the reconciliation agreement had been signed.

"The recent contacts had been held among the factions that are included in the PLO executive committee had led to a consensus to nominate Fayyad as the premier of the new government," said Abu Yousef. However, Hamas movement is still refusing to nominate Fayyad for the post.

In response to reaching a reconciliation agreement, Israel suspended the payment of the tax revenues it collects every month from the Palestinian trade of export and import. However, on Monday, the Israeli prime minister decided to transfer the money to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) budget.

Meanwhile, the Israeli radio reported that Israel would transfer on Monday the tax revenues to the PNA. The radio quoted Israeli officials as saying that the decision was made after Israel made sure that the PNA is still committed to security cooperation with Israel.

The Israeli government officials, according to the radio, said that Israel would keep the right of transferring the tax revenues to the PNA for itself, and it may suspend it again, in case the Islamic Hamas movement would become part of the new Palestinian government.

Source: Xinhua
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