Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

‘Cairo Agreement’ Closes Chapter of Palestinian Division | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Head of Hamas delegation Saleh Arouri and Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad sign a reconciliation deal in Cairo, Egypt, October 12, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMR ABDALLAH DALSH

Ramallah- Fatah and Hamas movements closed on Thursday the chapter of Palestinian division by signing the most important agreement over political reconciliation between the two sides.

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told reporters after the signing ceremony in Cairo that the agreement inked with Hamas’ representative Saleh al-Arouri would empower a national unity government to assume its full authorities in Gaza, the first among other steps to follow in line with the agreement, which declared December 1 as the deadline for the Palestinian Authority to take over the Gaza Strip.

The reconciliation deal also allows the PA to take over Gaza’s border crossings with Egypt and Israel no later than November 1, while the PA Presidential Guard forces would control the Rafah crossing and the border with Egypt at a later time, in coordination with Cairo.

Directly after the signing of the deal, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said the agreement “strengthens and hastens the process of ending the division and restoring unity of the Palestinian people, land and institutions.”

The president also called on his government and all security apparatuses to work for implementing the agreement.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah responded by saying his cabinet was ready to immediately start assuming all responsibilities to govern the Gaza Strip.

Hamdallah also said he will soon travel to Gaza. The prime minister visited the enclave earlier this month following the first agreement between Fatah and Hamas allowing the PA government to assume its administrative responsibility there.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, Palestinians celebrated carrying Abbas’ photos for the first time since Hamas controlled the Strip in 2007.

Hamdallah would carry his duties until the establishment of a national unity government, which Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions are expected to discuss during a meeting in Cairo on November 21.

Abbas will visit Gaza for the first time in a decade within a month. His trip is expected to announce the end of the division between the two Palestinian sides.

Munir al-Jaghoub, who heads Fatah’s Information Department, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There is no doubt that the President is going to Gaza, but there is still no schedule for his visit. The issue needs wide preparations.”